You have to keep your eyes open when it comes to money matters. There are potential problems everywhere. Here are some Money Warnings:
Company Credit Card – You might be partially or totally liable for the debt on a company credit card entrusted to you if your company doesn’t pay the bill. Be especially careful if you had to provide your financial information to get the card, or you pay the bill and are reimbursed by the company, or the card appears on your personal credit report. My advice: don’t use a company credit card if you are liable to pay the bill.
The Family Home – If your elderly parents want to put your name on the title so the house will pass to you when they die, be careful, the value of your part of the house is a gift from your parents to you. The IRS requires a gift form to be filed if the value is more than the $13,000 per individual annual gift exclusion (two parents $26,000 annual gift exclusion). My advice: check with your tax person.
Credit Card and Mortgage Statements – Review these carefully each month. Sometimes, a recurring fee will appear; it will be small and seemingly inconsequential, but it might be for something you ordered and don’t know about. I had a client couple who showed me their mortgage statement. It had “S&H Insurance” on it. When I asked, they said they didn’t know for sure, probably just some mortgage charge. It took me a half day of calling to find out it wasn’t insurance at all – it was a buying service they had inadvertently signed up for at $10 a month. It would have cost them $3500 if the monthly charge had stayed on there until the house was paid off. My advice: question anything you don’t understand.
Opt In on Credit Card – Recent bank rule changes mean that if you want your bank to cover insufficient funds for your ATM or debt card, you must opt in and pay overdraft fees. This new banking rule does not affect checks, online bill pay, and recurring check card purchases. You must know the rules. My advice: do nothing and opt out to avoid overdraft fees.
Debit Card – At my bank I will be charged 25 cents on a debit card purchase if I use a PIN number. My advice: don’t use a PIN.
It pays to pay attention when it comes to your money. Keep your eyes open!