TRAVEL with pat and lew

remote financial management

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 22, 2007

It is possible, and not difficult, to receive and pay all of your bills over the internet, no matter where in the world you happen to be. There are three basic approaches.  

credit card payments  Arrange for vendors to automatically charge your credit card. We do this with repetitive vendors with whom we have a trusting relationship. But still, we check. You can go on line to view your credit card charges, payments and statements. No paper. No bills in the mail. Each month, I epay my credit card bills, over the web, from my home bank account.

automatic epay   Most banks have on-line banking, whereby you can view all transactions and make electronic payments. Epay (electronic payment) can be automatic, if you authorize a vendor, say your mortgage company, to charge each month directly to your account. If you do this, you should check your bank accounts periodically, on-line, of course, to reconcile charges to date and to assure that you have sufficient funds to pay upcoming bills.

directed epay  For other bills where automatic payment is not feasible or not desired, you can arrange to receive bills by email, set up a vendor payment account on your bank’s site, and then enter the payment details manually through your bank’s on-line site.

epay considerations

Get everything as organized as possible before you leave home. But, if you have Skype, you can call your bank and/or vendors whenever there’s a problem or question.

Social security and retirement annuity income can be automatically deposited to your checking account, and IRA and other funds can be electronically transferred from other accounts. But you need to keep all of these transactions in balance.

I no longer keep a written bank book. Instead, I have set up a spreadsheet where I enter all receipts, payments and transfers. I reconcile my spreadsheet bank book to the web balance at least twice a month.In addition, I enter upcoming receipts and payments in chronological order, calculate what the balance will be, and transfer any funds needed to make the payments.

We have made the same arrangements with our French bank and French vendors (telephone, electric company, etc), and once established, it works fine.

TIP: monitor automatic bill paying very closely, especially in the early months, to assure everything is as you directed.

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