found money · Increasing Income · Step 4: Cutting Costs

$300 Per Hour

I review every bill that comes in and, approximately once a week, I check all of my accounts (banking, investing). This is to ensure that nothing is cuckoo.

Almost every week, something is.

I told you about the cell phone fraud here, the merchant trickery here, the difficulty banks have counting here, and a couple of other people’s kerfuffles here.

Not yet convinced of the importance of reviewing our statements?

Okay: Today I glanced at my investment accounts. Now, a lot of people urge us not to do this until reallocation time, because we can get anxious watching the wild swings and dips of the stock market. If we’ve learned about investing and then chosen a path, we need to ignore the pendulum and proceed valiantly as planned. In investing, this is key.

However, my investments happen to display alongside my daily banking info, so I see it without trying. And today, I saw that in the tiny test account I had set up for my little kid to observe, there’d been an inexplicable dip. More weirdly, it was not accounted for in his stock accounts. It was his cash that had dropped! Either we’d been stolen from, or…

Sure enough, the investment firm had charged a maintenance fee. I called the brokerage up.

Super fast, the agent explained: “In March, we created fees for all accounts under a certain amount.”

But my account is NOT under a certain amount. The firm had simply neglected to “link” all my accounts, thus charged me a massive percentage of the smallest one.

No way, Jose!

The agent quickly resolved the matter—linking the accounts so that this cannot happen again, and refunding the fee and tax. He then threw in another $50 for my trouble.

In 15 minutes, I had made $75. That’s $300 per hour!

I swear I make about 1/4 of my income just reading laws, small print, and statements.

Action: This week, double-check at least one statement. If there is an error, take 15 minutes to have it corrected.

4 thoughts on “$300 Per Hour

  1. Just yesterday I had to call about an investment that was renewed. I had specified the term, got a confirmation of the rate, and put it all in place to renew last Friday. When I checked to see if it had been done correctly – nope! Almost a half percent less interest than had been confirmed.

    The bank lists investments terms as 15 months, 18 months, etc., but when renewing online, it’s # of years, and number of days. Heaven help you if you enter 182 days instead of 183 days for 6 months, which is what I did. One day difference meant .45% less interest. Because I caught it right away, it was cheerfully fixed immediately. But what if I hadn’t paid attention? It would have likely been impossible to correct after a month or two.

    I don’t check my investments daily, or even weekly. But whenever I do a trade, or reinvest, or if there’s something new in my portfolio, I always monitor those until I am sure they are done correctly. I’ve probably saved thousands of dollars over the years just by paying attention, because apparently banks don’t.


    1. Wow, Dee, what a great example!

      And yes, the .45% that sounds like so little to us before we start learning about money, sure adds up to a big difference over time!


  2. I did this yesterday and found another $14.99 “renewal charge” for a subscription I had never signed up for in the first place. Apple Music reversed the charges, but that’s $15 they almost got from me – and how many others?

    This is one of the best lessons I learned from your book, Joon, and it helps me feel like I am taking care of myself.

    Thank you.


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