I mentioned a few weeks that I wanted to further simplify my financial system and closing extra accounts is a big part of that. Well…I closed my NJM Bank Checking account. I have been putting this off for about a year, because the prospect of having to pay the occasional ATM fee made me cringe. Yes, I can be that cheap. The $8.00 a month ATM fee reimbursement was the sole reason I kept the account around. The ironic part is that the extra interest I will earn by having the money in ING will more than cover the extra ATM fees that we incur during the year.
The account was our first foray into the online banking world and I was happy to sign up 4 years ago, but things changes. They also gave me $25 for opening both a savings and a checking account and the interest on the checking account was 1-2%, which was pretty good 4 years ago. Since then we have moved our banking to ING Electric Orange and are very pleased.
So why not just keep the account around to avoid the occasional $3.00 ATM fee at the boardwalk? Simplicity! This may sound crazy, but having an extra account hanging around that still charges service fees if you don’t feed it a direct deposit and not having all of my money in easy to use baskets adds a level of complexity. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if you have a 100 of these types of situations in your life you end up wasting hours and days thinking about things that aren’t worth your time. Even if you aren’t directly thinking about these things, these ‘open loops’ add a small amount of stress and use mental space. It is really hard to imagine that removing these types of ‘little’ tasks can have a profound effect on your life, but it does.
I am speaking from experience. As I continue to prune and simplify, each year the level of stress and in my life drops despite adding more and more important tasks. If you can’ imagine it, I understand. Looking back I can’t say that I thought it would have made a difference…it sounded silly. I was willing to give it a try though, and my life, wife, and children are reaping the benefits of simple systems that free time and energy for the things that truly matter in my life.
Give it a try. I suspect there are more than a few ‘open loops’ that pop right into your head. Just the fact that they are so easily accessible means they are taking energy from things that you would rather be thinking about like spouse, children, your business, leisure, and helping others.