I’ll give you my answer right now, yes. Back in the old days, before Al Gore invented the Internet, people balanced their bank accounts using a pen and paper. This is not how it is done today.
More and more, people are relying on services like Mint.com to keep their finances in check, and it is only going to continue in this direction. By not cashing checks immediately, you are basically giving people the idea that they have more money than they do, and while I realize you are not responsible for their finances, there are other negative consequences as well.
Why Not Cashing A Check Immediately Can Hurt You
- Interest. By not cashing your checks immediately, you are losing out on any interest you could be earning in the meantime. That my only mean 1.5% in an online savings account, but why would you purposefully reject an offer for free money? What it comes down to is apathy, and apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand. At least that’s what Ryan Reynolds’s teacher told me in Van Wilder…forget that Bodie Thoene said it first.
- Balancing your own accounts. Like I said, it’s not your responsibility to keep other peoples bank accounts in check, but it is your responsibility to manage your own. The longer you hold on to a check, the greater the chance is that you will forget about it. You will probably eventually deposit it, but why give yourself the chance the worry about being low on money when you have it sitting in a drawer in your desk at home?
- Losing your money. It doesn’t happen often, but if you don’t cash a check within a certain time period, usually 30-90 days, it is no longer valid. If the check came from somebody you know and trust, this isn’t as big of a deal because they’ll likely cut you another check, but if it’s from somebody you no longer have contact with, you may be out of luck. I had a friend who waited too long to cash a $1,500 check and couldn’t even find out who to contact since the company who wrote it was no longer in business. Don’t let that happen to you.
Your Attitude About Money
After all is said and done, it is just the polite thing to do and has a positive effect on everybody.
If you take anything from this, it should be regarding your attitude towards money. You should always actively pursue your options to have your money work for you, and by procrastinating on something as simple as depositing a check, you are only closing doors to your earning potential.
What are your thoughts on waiting to cash checks? Can you think of anything positive about holding on to that $1,000 piece of paper in your wallet?
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