A recent survey from the American Institute of CPAs compares two popular online routines: monitoring your social media accounts versus monitoring your checking and savings accounts.
The survey found that the vast majority of young adults dedicate more time to managing their friends and followers than managing their money. In fact, among adults 18 to 34, just 17 percent of respondents indicated that they check their bank accounts on a daily basis while more than 50 percent log in to their social media accounts each day of the week.
While I don’t advocate compulsively checking your online banking profile every hour, I do strongly recommend paying attention to your account activity. Keeping a close eye on your account is one of the most important components of protecting yourself from identity theft liabilities. Earlier this week, my co-blogger Claes Bell pointed out that debit card fraud can happen to anyone. If someone manages to use your debit card and you fail to report it within two days, you can be responsible for up to $500 of the unauthorized purchases.
As Financial Literacy Month draws to a close, the AICPA survey also introduces an interesting perspective on the way we use technology. While we have access to online budgeting tools and easy-to-understand transaction histories, many of us fail to put them to use. Why? Outside of spending time browsing social media circles, the Internet helps us buy, well, pretty much anything. In fact, 56 percent of the survey’s respondents said that technology makes it easier to spend money.
Since so many young adults spend plenty of time online, I recommend simply making your personal finances part of that Internet exercise. Before you post your next status update on Facebook, take five minutes to check your balances and review the purchases in your online banking folder. It’s a good proactive practice to ensure there are no suspicious charges, and you may even be able to identify certain categories where you could cut some of your spending.
What do you think of the survey results? Do you monitor your checking account balance as often as you monitor your social media account activity?