An important part of smart investing is being aware of what your money is doing at all times. You wouldn’t invest in stocks and then never check on them. If you did that, you wouldn’t know when to sell or buy more.
The same logic holds true for what your money is doing in other areas of your life. If you’ve got money hanging around in other people’s pockets, it’s time to bring it home.
Here are 4 ways your own money might be tied up in other people’s pockets:
- A deposit that hasn’t been returned
Any deposit you give someone should be at least partially refundable, if not fully. For instance, when you rent an apartment or house, in most states any deposit has to be fully refundable and by a certain time.
That doesn’t mean your landlord can’t use part of your deposit to cover damages when you move out. It just means it’s not a fee they can keep for no reason. Fees are non-refundable, while deposits, by nature, are refundable.
When renting an apartment or house, your landlord is supposed to hold your deposit in a separate account, untouched until you move out. They’re also generally required to provide you with information on where your money is being held. Professional management companies know this, but sometimes fail to provide their tenants with the right paperwork.
If you didn’t get your full deposit back after moving out, check your local laws to find out what you can do to get it back.
Aside from housing, there are plenty of other circumstances in which you’ll be asked for a deposit. Contractors, website developers, and anyone else expected to perform services prior to being paid might ask for a deposit.
Unfortunately, there are people who will unlawfully keep deposits. If you have a deposit that hasn’t been returned, don’t be afraid to find out why. If you’re informed that you won’t be getting your deposit back, ask for a written explanation as to where your deposit went.
- An injury sustained on the job
Any job carries the risk for injury or death, but some present a bigger danger than others – like construction and manufacturing.
If you’ve sustained an injury while working, you’re entitled to worker’s compensation. According to legal experts, to get compensation in a no-fault state, you don’t need to prove that your employer is responsible. You just need to prove you were injured on the job. Worker’s compensation exists to compensate for serious injury even if you, your co-workers, your employer, a chemical, or a defective product caused that injury.
Worker’s compensation will provide you with the funds you need while you recover from your injury and take time off work. It just makes sense to file.
If you’ve been injured, file a claim right away. Your employer may try to pay less than what your claim is worth, but if you can prove your injury was caused on the job, you will be compensated.
- A class action settlement you got in the mail
Everyone gets notices in the mail informing them of their eligibility to receive a settlement check from a class action lawsuit. It sounds exciting at first, but most of the payouts turn out to be small; sometimes less than $20. However, free money is free money.
If all you need to do is sign your name and mail it back, take it with you on your next trip to the post office and splurge for a stamp. When you finally get the check in the mail months later, it will be a surprise and you’ll probably need it for gas or pizza.
- Unpaid loans made to friends or family
If you’ve got unpaid loans floating around, call them in and be firm about it. Work with the person to come up with a reasonable payment plan, even if all they can afford is ten dollars a month. Why should you accept just ten dollars? It holds them accountable and puts them in a position where they can’t wiggle out of their responsibility with excuses.
Chances are, if you can get that friend or family member to start paying you ten bucks a month, they’ll start giving you twenty, and before you know it, you’ll be paid in full.