From banking to investments to retirement funds, online access to an array of financial products offers convenience and clarity for your fiscal future … assuming everything is kept current.
For many, it’s not second nature to update these accounts after a major life event. Some individuals may go years between visits to the “My Account” or “Personal Settings” sections of any financial websites. If a problem arises, having outdated information in these accounts can make it worse.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) published a suggested DFAS yearly checkup in a recent retiree newsletter; check below for a summary of those tips, many of which can be used for other types of financial accounts.
[RELATED: More Financial News and Guidance From MOAA]
1. Stay connected. This simple step is far from unique to DFAS – be sure your mailing address and email address are up to date. If the site stores more than one address or email account, delete any old or unused options. As more financial providers move away from mailing paper statements, this becomes even more important to track online.
2. A good once-over. DFAS users should check allotments and tax withholding via myPay – the service recommends a yearly check, after finishing tax preparation. For other accounts, don’t assume items like your maximum credit card balance, minimum account balance, or other important numbers will stay set forever – you may have missed a notification, become eligible for a better interest rate, or any number of changes.
3. Change is constant. You should always update your accounts after a move, a divorce, remarriage, or any other significant life event. But these events are significant for a reason – updating online accounts may be the furthest thing from your mind at the time. A regular check-in will prevent any oversights from lasting very long.
4. Beneficiary updates. The DFAS publication stresses the importance of ensuring your Arrears of Pay beneficiary and your Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) beneficiary are kept current. This lesson carries over to all insurance plans or any other financial product that will be passed down.
Need more help with financial planning? MOAA’s personal financial publications cover estate planning, investing, and much more. They’re available exclusively to Premium and Life members; visit MOAA.org/join to learn more about other benefits of upgraded membership.