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Money Challenge: Unlink Your Checking and Savings

I have to give credit, where credit is due.  The inspiration for this post came from Big Law Investor’s Make Investing Harder, Not Easier.   It’s a great read about how making advances in life, especially when it comes to saving and investing, shouldn’t be easy.  In fact, the harder things are, the less people are lining up to accept the challenge. Those who do choose the more difficult path, are the ones most likely to succeed.

It got me thinking about why good money habits are so hard to setup and maintain.  Is it because we were never taught at home?  Are we not disciplined enough? Do we lack the self-confidence? I would venture to say all of the above and most likely a few others.

Maybe the only way we can break such bad habits is to force ourselves into situations where we have no choice but to figure it out and move forward.  In the comment section of Big Law’s post, Financial Muse nailed it, stating that cash is less accessible in an investment account versus a savings account.  Why? Because it is linked to the checking!  It’s no wonder we give zero consideration to overspending and never keeping to our budgets, we have this safety blanket.

THE CHALLENGE:

  1. Unlink your checking and savings (let the fear of that $25 overdraft fee motivate you),
  2. Determine the smallest amount possible to retain in your savings (w/o incurring penalty),  
  3. Move the majority of your savings into CDs, open a brokerage account, or any other savings/investing vehicle that makes it hard for you to access the money instantaneously, and
  4. Perform a budget deep-dive to see how much you can add to your new investment account each week/month.

I am willing to bet, the hardships endured with this challenge create a new found discipline.  Over time, this learned behavior will become second nature and linking the accounts, again, is more for convenience purposes than safety.  The ultimate question is whether or not you slip back into your old ways?

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

6 comments

  1. I like this one. I kinda already do this because I deposit my paycheck in one account but keep my savings in a high interest savings account in another bank. I do have a couple thousand dollar cushion in my regular bank savings though. Time to tell the bank to unlink them, overdraft fees be damned!

    Tom @ HIP

    • Hi, Tom. Thanks for stopping by!

      It’s certainly a bit more hardcore than other challenges, but who doesn’t love baptism by fire?

      When I first did this years ago, I mentally forgot about the investment account I moved my savings to. As a result, it made me nervous I was cash poor and put maximum effort into replenishing my savings.

  2. I’ll admit, I don’t actually have any money in a savings account. I just have 2 months expenses in a checking account and the rest is in investments.

  3. Great advice! You have to make it difficult to spend your savings, so unlink it.

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