Protect your wealth with this 5-step checklist

Protect your wealth with this 5-step checklist 

07.08.2024

Consumers across the U.S. reported losing more than $10 billion1 to fraud in 2023 – a record high that marks a 14% increase over 2022.

As you work to build wealth and passive income, ensuring your money stays safe can be an essential part of your financial plan. Check out these five ways to safeguard your spending and savings now.

1. Secure your identity 

U.S. e-commerce drove nearly $290 billion2 in sales during the first three months of 2024, an increase of 2.1% over the prior quarter.  And with the average American spending nearly two and a half hours a day "dreamscrolling" – looking at dream purchases or things they hope to buy – consumers are increasingly spending both money and time online.

Getting a hold on online accounts is a smart place to start when monitoring finances. Beyond the basics of verifying correct names, addresses and payment methods, dipping into privacy settings will help you better understand how your data can be shared. Closing older logins you no longer need could lower your chances of sensitive information being compromised in data breaches, which saw a 20% increase from 2022 to 2023.3

2. Do a debt deep dive

Knowing your debt details – including the specifics of your different lines of credit can help you calculate your credit utilization, or the percentage of your total revolving credit limit that you’re using.

By tracking payment due dates, you can develop a monthly money timeline, which can include when to expect new paychecks, automatic bill-pay and statements.

Holding yourself accountable to deadlines can pay off for your wallet, too: 37% of Americans were charged a late fee on a bill within the last 12 months.

3. See how you stack up

The personal credit history listed on your credit report can influence your buying power.5

AnnualCreditReport.com allows you to receive a free copy of your report every 12 months from each of the three U.S. credit bureaus, and following up with institutions to resolve errors can help you spot possible identity theft or accounts you’d forgotten about.

4. Spot improvements for financial habits

Small changes can make a big difference: Just as the power of compounding earnings can shape retirement savings, even little lifestyle tweaks could help you build a better process for your finances.

In 2022, 78% of U.S. adults said they prefer to do their banking via mobile app or website.6 By checking to see what features your bank offers – such as mobile check deposits or customized alerts – you could streamline some manual tasks and also stay on top of your spending.

More than 2 in 5 define “making it” as reaching financial independence (44%), according to Empower research, and these steps can help people on their journey to security.   

5. Talk about your money future

With more than half of adult children living with their parents, money can become a topic that’s crossing generations.7  On average, Americans start planning for retirement at age 30, so being honest about goals for your finances earlier can help avoid harder conversations down the line.

If you’re like the 63% of people who don’t talk about money with family members, starting to engage in conversations with a trusted financial professional can help. Jotting down bullet points in a journal or notes app can help you visualize what’s important to you and can be a guide in picking financial milestones you want to hit. 

A third of Americans (32%) plan to leave an inheritance, even if it’s small, according to Empower research. Goals – like putting money aside for estate planning – can translate into sinking funds. This makes it easier for you to manage your cash flow and may also simplify the process for family members who may eventually need to be involved in your finances.

Going forward

Taking the time now to bring money front and center can build comfort in your financial strategies and a strong defense for your future needs.

Get the scoop on your money.

Stay current on planning, saving, and investing for life.

1 Federal Trade Commission, “As Nationwide Fraud Losses Top $10 Billion in 2023, FTC Steps Up Efforts to Protect the Public, February 2024.

2 U.S. Census Bureau, “Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales 1st Quarter 2024,” May 2024.

3 Harvard Business Review, “Why Data Breaches Spiked in 2023,” February 2024.

4 CNBC, “37% of Americans paid a late fee in the last 12 months, report finds,” May 2024.

5 Federal Trade Commission, “Free Credit Reports,” July 2022.

6 Forbes Advisor, “U.S. Consumer Banking Statistics 2024,” January 2024.

7 U.S. Census Bureau, How Many Young and Older Adults Lived Alone?,” May 2024.

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The Currency editors

Staff contributors

The CurrencyTM, a publication from Empower, covers the latest financial news and views shaping how we live, work, and play. We keep you current on ways to plan, save, and invest for life.

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. No part of this blog, nor the links contained therein is a solicitation or offer to sell securities. Compensation for freelance contributions not to exceed $1,250. Third-party data is obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, Empower cannot guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness of this data for any particular purpose. Third-party links are provided solely as a convenience and do not imply an affiliation, endorsement or approval by Empower of the contents on such third-party websites.

Certain sections of this blog may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions. Past performance is not a guarantee of future return, nor is it indicative of future performance. Investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate and you may lose money.

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