Tips to avoid financial hot water
Mon, 12 Dec 2005
This article is a printout from iafrica.com
Copyright © 2000 iafrica.com*, a division of Metropolis*
You work hard for your money during the year, so don’t let absentminded mistakes over the holidays leave you out of pocket. Here are some practical tips to help you keep financially fit over the festive season.
The key to financial security
“It is vital to pay all your insurance premiums so that you are not left without cover. Despite additional demands on your pocket during the festive season, make sure you have enough money to cover your premiums.
“Just one skipped payment or bounced debit order will mean that you’re not covered by your insurance company in the event of a claim, which could be financially devastating. Also remember that, if you skip a premium, you would need to pay double the next month, which could be difficult to afford in January,” says Franzo Friedrich, head of marketing at FNB Insurance.
Stay on the right side of the law
No matter how much of a party animal you are, it is vital to stick to the law so your insurance cover remains in place.
If you drink and drive and have an accident, you have committed a crime and, apart from serious legal consequences, you will not be covered by your insurance. Similar serious consequences can result if you drive without a seatbelt or if your vehicle isn’t roadworthy.
If you’re going on holiday, it is especially important to service your car before taking to the road. Ensure your car licence is up to date and that you have all the necessary documentation if you’re taking your car over the border. Check the details of your insurance cover in other countries with your insurance company.
Manage your accounts carefully
“The last thing you want to come home to after a relaxing holiday is a pile of bills, so pay all your bills during the festive season. By skipping out on monthly payments, you run the risk of damaging your credit rating, making it difficult to secure loans in the future,” advises Jan Kleynhans, CEO of FNB Card.
“Try to avoid carrying too much cash over the holiday season because it can easily be lost or stolen. If you are going to pay large sums of money, for example, for accommodation, it is safer to pay for it electronically, using the internet, or by debit or credit card. In this way you also avoid standing in long queues in branches when you could be enjoying yourself on holiday or having to deal with the frustrations of being limited by the amount of money you can withdraw from ATMs,” says Kleynhans.
A credit or debit card can also be used for convenient payment of all your smaller holiday expenses, such as meals, entertainment and even toll fees. But if you are using your credit card, keep tracking of what you’re spending — it’s so easy for credit to get out of hand.
Safety at ATMs
Stay alert when handling money, especially while using ATMs. Never allow yourself to be distracted by strangers, as criminals are also active over the holiday period.
Only use ATMs that are in well lit, secure areas and avoid using ATMs where people are loitering, as they may be fraudsters. Never accept help from strangers and only ever operate the ATM machine yourself, inserting and removing your card and money yourself. Cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN.
If anyone tries to offer you unwanted assistance or to crowd your space, immediately press the cancel button and retrieve your card.
“Should you have any questions about how to use the ATM machine, ask only the branch staff for assistance,” advises Mike Arnold, CEO of FNB Self Service Channel.
Take your ID book with you when you go on holiday; you’ll need it if you go into a branch to identify yourself with staff who may not know you.
Holidays are a time to relax and have a good time, so take all necessary precautions to ensure everything goes as planned and that your finances emerge from the holiday season as fit and as healthy as you do.