Financial 404 Errors Are Expensive

by Ron Haynes

No big news flash there, huh? Making a financial mistake by nature means it will cost you, but have you ever considered all the potential mistakes you could make and just how much they could be costing you? We make literally billions of dollars in mistakes every year. I’m not talking about bad financial habits, but about genuine, one-time (hopefully) bad moves. For example:

Late payments

Penalties and fees on credit card accounts topped $20 billion revcently. Simply missing a payment by one day can trigger additional charges just because of a foul up.

Unclaimed tax refund

Billions go unclaimed each year according to the IRS. Just for the 2011 filing year, the IRS is still holding over $1.3 billion. While not necessarily a “foul up” in the classical sense, failing to claim money that is owed to you is definitely a mistake.

NSF checks

According to an FDIC study, banks collected over $37 billion in various “foul up” fees from their customers in 2008. A similar study in 2007 found that virtually ALL people experiencing an overdraft on their checking account were not aware of it until after the fact.

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Unclaimed property

More than $32 billion of unclaimed property is sitting in state treasurers’ offices, waiting for the owners of 117 million abandoned accounts to claim their money. The accounts could be anything from utility security deposits to life insurance payouts to the contents of safe-deposit boxes. I found a leftover paycheck ($77) from a previous employer after reading about unclaimed property on Cash Money Life!

Parking tickets

With the downturn in the economy, municipalities are keenly interested in propping up their coffers and parking tickets are an easy way to increase revenues. Not paying attention to where you park or to your parking meter can cost you a few bucks and some time. Forget to pay your ticket and your cost rises exponentially.

Library fines

Just like with parking tickets, municipalities can pad their pockets with unpaid library fines and fees. If you’re a frequent user of a library, check with the circulation desk each time you visit to insure you don’t have any outstanding fees, overdue books or overdue DVD’s.

Buying without thinking

Whether it’s a car, a laptop, a home, or some other major purchase, buying without thinking things through is a big source of financial foul ups. Learning self discipline can help you avoid this type of mistake. But it isn’t easy. I know.

What other one-time financial foul ups have I missed?

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 987 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.