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Ramit’s 12-minute guide to automating your accounts (video)

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This is an oldie but goodie, and one of the most important videos I’ve posted in my 100+ YouTube videos.

In this 12-minute video, I show you how to set up your bulletproof personal-finance system to automate your accounts.

I cover the entire system in extreme detail in my personal finance book.

To find out about the psychology of automation — including how it affects your money — check out my section on automating your personal finances.

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Ramit's 12-minute guide to automating your accounts (video)

This is an oldie but goodie, and one of the most important videos I've posted in my 100+ YouTube videos. ...

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  1. Good video – for passwords, check out KeePass. It is a great program that will not only store all your login information and urls, but will also generate random passwords for each. I then keep a copy of the database both on my home network and on a portable thumb drive. All I have to remember is the main password to open KeePass. I talk about it briefly here –

    KeePass also has a Droid app, so it also resides on my phone.

    • I use KeePass and find it great for the many accounts I have to keep track of. Makes the whole process simple.
      I also keep a copy on my thumb drive.

  2. If you want to know why automating your finances is a practical move, consider my personal example. We’ve juggled a lot in the last 6 months, including buying a house, having a relative move in, and fitting in some extra work.

    The good news is our cash flow hasn’t suffered (it’s actually improved) and the main reason is that our bill pay and finances are pretty much automated. Without automation we would probably be late on some payments. We developed this system so we can check our balances once a week for 5 minutes to make sure everything is running smoothly.

  3. We have a system like this setup at our house. 401k gets taken out automatically pre-tax. Paycheck is transferred and automatic transfers to savings/roth are taken out a few days later. We use auto bill pay for our bills. it works great – automation is a man’s best friend!

  4. Thanks for the great tips Ramit! Automation makes things so much easier. One question that may be a little off subject: do you continue to build your credit if you don’t carry a balance on your credit card?

    • You want to set up a minor charge to happen at least every couple of months — say, a $8 monthly Netflix charge — because some credit cards will close accounts if they’re not actively used every quarter/year.

  5. @Jonathan – In addition to Ramit’s comment, you should understand that you don’t need to carry a balance on credit cards to continue building your credit profile. What you do need to keep an eye on is your credit utilization ratio (proportion of total available credit you use) since it accounts for a large chunk of your FICO score. Keep it under 30%, or preferably under 10% if possible.

  6. Very good point Joshua. That’s exactly what our mortgage lender was looking for when my husband and I applied for a mortage — 30% or under. We use our credit cards to earn points rather than using our debit card for safety reasons. Any balance we have only exists for a very short time because we have the cash available to pay for the purchase, before we use the credit card.

  7. @Rose M

    Watch your credit limit though… We have a card that we used for points purposes. The limit was $10K and we were charging and paying off approximately $4K per month. A review of my credit report looked like I was carrying a balance that was 40% of my limit.

    I called my credit card company and asked them to bump my limit to $20K. I explained to them that I felt it was hurting my credit score. They saw that I have a high credit score and that I always clear the card at the end of the month (or leave a very small balance) and granted my request.

    Something to think about…

  8. I’m 21 and in college. I’ve always used debit cards. I have part time jobs all year and don’t have any big expenses. So I haven’t gotten a credit card yet.

    Why do you say you don’t like debit cards? i’ve been using Mint to keep track of what i spend on and so far everything is working great.

    i tried searching this site for debit cards, but when i search the site crashes for some reason. (using google chrome).

    • It’s critically important to build credit. For example, when buying a $300,000 house, the difference between someone with good credit and bad credit is over $100,000 (over the course of the loan). Getting credit and using it responsibly is one of the most important things you can do.

    • Another reason its better to use credit cards is…if in case if there’s a fraudulent charge you’re protected…debit cards normally don’t offer those protection…money gone is gone or may be difficult to get it back…

  9. Is there any easy way to pay a mortgage using a credit card?