« Incomes rise more sharply here than in U.S. | Main | Brand loyalty -- on the way out »

June 25, 2021

How your laziness costs you money

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Since the dawn of time, laziness has been the ultimate no-no.

In Christian mythology, sloth was one of the seven deadly sins, its transgressors fed to the hissing snake pits of Hell. Benjamin Franklin once famously derided the sluggish by saying, “The sleeping fox catches no poultry.” Indolence was also the premise for the positively awful Slackers, a movie so bad it singlehandedly delayed Jason Segel’s rise to fame by five years.

But for all my self-admitted lethargy, I never took the time to properly evaluate how much cash it might be costing me. Why, you ask? Because I’m lazy. (I thought we just covered that.)

In any case, Forbes has done a nice job assessing just how your laziness is losing you money, and some of the suggestions might leave you wanting to kick yourself.

The best part of the list is that all the proposals are modest. For example, by simply hopping online for two minutes to pay off your credit card (or at least the minimum amount), you’re saving the late fee which, according to indexcreditcards.com, amounts to about a $34.09 penalty.

How about your savings account? Most of us are pretty content with our TDs or CIBCs or Scotiabanks because we’ve been with them for years. They’re real places with real people we feel comfortable going into and having them lose our real money. We’re fine with this. But, as has long been known, traditional banks only offer so-so interest rates on your savings.

According to Forbes, the best rate you can get at a conventional bank is about 0.75%, while new Internet banks like EmigrantDirect or Doral Bank Direct (or Citizens Bank in Canada) can get you as much as a 2.25% annual return. “May not sound like much,” says the article, “but it all adds up. On a $100,000 principal, compounded monthly for five years, the higher interest rate yields an additional $8,000.” Yeah, not many of us have a crisp 100 G’s laying around, but you get the point on the merits of shopping around.

The list kicks it up a notch for a few entries, too, showing what you can get for a little more aggressive haggling. Most of us are too complacent or uninterested to barter on the day-to-day stuff we buy, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore everything. We all know Rogers or Telus is likely to shed a few bucks off your monthly cable/cell phone bill if you wrangle a bit with their retention department, yet Forbes suggests this approach can now apply to larger-scale purchases: “Landlords? They’re ready to negotiate, too, especially in this nasty real estate market.”

Anyhow, make sure you check out the rest of the list for some pretty handy tips. That is, unless, you aren’t reading this anymore because you got tired five minutes ago and closed your browser.

Regardless of how you choose to approach your own sloth, just make sure you don’t regret anything down the road. You know, kind of like the way I bet the auto industry regrets Walter Chrysler ever saying this:

“Whenever there is a hard job to be done, I assign it to a lazy man. He is sure to find an easy way of doing it.”

Uh, guessing you might want a mulligan on that one, Walt. All things considered.



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...