Money may feel somewhat scarce these days in comparison to the more prosperous times of the past. While we do not want to have to lock ourselves away and never part with our cash again, many of us do want to know how to protect the remaining finances we have and insure ourselves against further tough economic times.
Invest your money sensibly
With interest rates from bank accounts continuing to decline in several countries, more and more people are turning to alternative methods of investing their money. From stocks and shares to solid gold, with many other new and exciting markets also emerging; having a portfolio can be a great way to boost your balance. However, not only must you choose carefully where to place your money, you must also choose carefully how much money to place on each asset; early successes must not go to your head and spur you on to risk too much of your cash. While investing can be a great long-term method to grow your savings, you must always ensure you retain enough to survive comfortably in the meantime.
Be on the lookout for hidden charges
There are on-going calls for courts to be granted additional power in the fight against hidden charges that continue to lumber consumers with unwanted debts and over-inflated monthly payments. In the meantime, you can protect yourself against ending up in such a situation by remaining diligent to the small print of any contracts and by carefully scrutinising the terms and conditions of any deals long before you agree to sign them.
One of the most widespread cases of unsolicited, hidden charges came in the form of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). This policy was mis-sold by banks in poorly organised policies to thousands of consumers who had no need for it; most of whom were not even made aware that they were paying for it until they found their bank accounts sorely hit by extra charges.
While the likes of PPI has led to the public naming and shaming of those involved and a call from governments to reimburse wrongfully taken cash, other companies are still employing this rogue technique. From phone network providers, to supermarkets, to airlines; almost any business will try it if they believe they will get away with it.
Protect your identity
One of the best ways to protect your money is to protect your own identity. It is not just cancelling lost credit cards and informing banks of changes in address that can protect us however: Many of us now use smartphones as part of our everyday lives but fail to realise what a goldmine they are for potential identity (and monetary) thieves. Apps contain detailed information about us; they provide quick access to all our emails and contacts and many of us use them for remote, internet banking and fail to even bother logging out of our accounts.
Smartphones should always be password protected and passwords for separate devices, websites, online accounts, etc. should never be the sameor else if a hacker cracked it, they would immediately have access to everything. Software even allows you to lock your phone or wipe its data completely from another computer should it become lost or stolen.
About the Author
This post was written by Gladstone Brookes; a company based in the UK that helps consumers to reclaim money from mis-sold PPI policies. With an 87% success rate, they have already aided in the reimbursement of over £300 million so far and continue to accept applications from those who believe they have been wrongfully charged by their banks.