My closest friend is a retired lawyer like me.we used to work at the same place for 13 years, then I moved away-but we kept our relationship through thick, and thin.
I am telling you this, not because I think this is a valuable piece of information for you, (though- who knows, right?) but because she is an outstanding example of “documentophobia”- (I just invented this word, yes I did), I mean she has a deep fear of documents.
She retired 4 years ago, and, same as me, has not gone back to litigating (or any other kind of legal work) since, and basically spends her time at home.
She has a study, where she likes to spend most of her time, and on one of our (constant) phone calls, she told me she wished her study was more organized.
Being the frugal minimalistic me, (Hi Mary!no need to come over and spark joy here-I’m good! love you all the same!) I immediately told her to get going and start with tidying her desk, then drawers and shelves and……
My friend agreed, “yes, definitely, that is exactly what I’m going to do” ! she said.
“First thing tomorrow!” (it was noon).
What’s wrong with right now? I asked. ( yes, I know exactly what I sound like, no shame in that in my opinion).
“Oh, you won’t believe the number of letters I have piled on my desk, I can’t deal with it now“, was her answer.
“Letters? as in paper? who uses paper in 2020? ” I replied.
“I have no idea, I didn’t open these letters …they have been lying here since I retired”. was her answer.
In case you think either she-or I -are exaggerating for the sake of the story, well, no. that is exactly how the conversation went.
I did try to persuade her to get going with the tidying but to no avail.
I tried checking up on the project a few days later but got the impression that I was overstepping my boundaries.
I had a Deja Vue of that conversation a few days ago, when a seemingly innocent “no need to open me, just usual mumbo jumbo” letter arrived from my previous savings account.
An account I transferred after reading the small print concerning the management fees and financial returns.
Since I have this thing about reading all mail concerning my financial state, I discovered 217 $ were added to that closed account in 2019 since I closed it- and now, apparently, this money is just sitting there, doing absolutely nothing.
I immediately wrote them a mail and asked them to transfer the money to the same new account as the rest of the money, to which they answered that due procedure requires that the managers of the new account should contact them and ask for the money.
I love it when companies start proceduralizing things.
Since I will not be intimidated by procedures, I sent a mail the same minute to the managers of the new account and will keep checking on that until that money lands safely where it’s supposed to be.
This is just one of many examples of why you should never ever neglect opening letters- or mail- sent to you- concerning your finances.
Because it can save you money.
*By the way- if- by any chance- you are reading this and thinking to yourselves:”what? I wouldn’t bother lifting a finger for that amount of money”, well, then- I give you my full permission to find another blog that might interest you.
I strongly believe there is no such thing as money that can go to waste.
And still on that note-
My bank has this thing where they send important updated on the fees they charge me in PDF attached letters that go to my inbox -only reachable if I am checking my account.
The task of reading these PDF ‘s is really a hard one, since they use (literally) small print, and legal banking language (any of you seen Mary Poppins??) .one might even think it is designed to deter normal people from reading and understanding what they are writing. ( oh, of course, that’s not true, though, right??)
The last time I insisted on reading one of those pdf attachments in small print, I discovered they were telling me my management fees were about to triple themselves from now on.
I immediately wrote a mail to my bank manager telling him I am ever so sorry, but I believe my loyalty to the bank justifies a different attitude, but I will be more than happy to transfer my money if they have any trouble agreeing with me.
Turns out they agreed with me, and my management fees dropped immediately.
All it took was taking the time to actually read the f%&*^$# attachment from the bank.
And writing that mail.
By the way- no need to get cheeky or upset when engaging in that kind of correspondence with financial establishments.
It is much more effective to:
#1. breathe deeply and try to calm down, even if you find out outrageous things are happening.
#2. breathe again.
#3: Check your options online- I mean- check the alternatives- before you contact your current establishment.
The reason is- you are far better off in your negotiation when you have the facts at your side.
Then- and only then- write a polite mail to your current establishment- no need to flaunt your newly found facts on your first mail. if the establishment is reluctant to give in -then you can drily add that you would appreciate if they reconsidered their answer due to the fact that their competitors have just offered you this and that.
Again- keep your calm, please don’t make a call if you feel emotional and might get into an unnecessary loud conversation that gets you nowhere.
This is why Email was invented- after all.
And please please -please-
Don’t stack your paper mail on your desk unopened, or automatically delete it.
In my opinion- the first rule of frugality is being on top of your financial situation-meaning- actually knowing the facts- not guessing/hoping/assuming -what the facts are.
*Please do not consider this post to be any kind of legal advice- as I told you- since my retirement I am not working as a lawyer- and I hope to keep up the good work for many years more. this post is merely a common-sense -use your wits reminder- and nothing more than that.
Enjoy- the cooliflower.