This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.
I recently became aware of the fact that people keep funds in their Venmo accounts. I was shocked. From a finance perspective, this is a terrible move, keeping your money locked away for someone else’s use. By keeping money in a Venmo account, you are funding Venmo’s ability to fund others. I’m sure Venmo is happy. But your future self won’t be when you realize why this is bad for your financial life. So I decided to write a post about why we should always cash out our Venmo accounts. But first, a bit about my philosophy around money.
I like to think of money as our life energy. We spend time and physical energy doing our work, in exchange for money. Money then becomes a tool to buy what we need and want. Therefore, money is the middle man between our life energy and our possessions. Because money is a symbol of life energy, I treat it preciously.
You see, I don’t like to work for money. I would prefer my money working for me. That is the basic premise of being rich. The more we get our money to make money for us, the less we have to do the physical work, which then saves life energy and time, both of which increases our potential to make even MORE money.
What do I mean by making money work for you?
Well, let’s say you take your money and invest it in a brokerage account. You buy an investment at $100 and the company grows and does well. Your $100 is now $150. You just had your money work for you, earning you $50 without you having to work. Of course you will be taxed on your gains, reducing your earned income to let’s say $30. That isn’t much different than being taxed for the income you earn. In the end, that’s still $30 you didn’t have before, and you didn’t lift a finger to earn it.
Another example is real estate. Take our story. We scrapped together a down-payment to buy our primary home. We purchased a property whose monthly mortgage would cost the same as our monthly rent. Then we rented a portion of our home. The money we put into the home adds value to our assets in the form of equity earned, and the rental unit downstairs earns us an extra $623 a month. Prior to purchasing this home, we were paying someone else to keep a roof over our heads. By buying this property, we are making our money work for us, not us working for someone else’s benefit.
Even if you feel like investing in stocks or buying real estate is out of reach, you can still have your money work for you in more conservative ways. I wrote about investing in High Yield Savings Accounts for people who want access to their money in the near future or who are too uncomfortable with stocks and real estate.
Also, in my free course on Mastering a Budget, I wrote about the importance of assigning every dollar a job. Dollars are like responsibilities within a household or a workplace. If someone isn’t assigned a responsibility, the work doesn’t get done. Likewise, you need to make your money accountable for doing the work for you. If not, it’ll most likely float past your fingertips into another person’s hands as quickly as you earned it. Nothing gets done because money isn’t held accountable, and neither are you.
What does this have to do with Venmo?
Well, I personally never keep my money in my Venmo account. There is no benefit to it. It doesn’t make my transactions go through faster. It doesn’t make it more convenient for me to track the dollars I have. It doesn’t allow me to give every dollar a job. And it doesn’t grow my wealth.
I pull out every dollar from Venmo (at $0 charge using the Standard Trasfer to my bank account) the minute the notification goes through that I got paid. There are two pros to this.
- This pulls every transaction amount separately and automatically logs each bank deposit from Venmo as its own transaction. This is important because we use YNAB (a platform for budgeting called You Need A Budget) to give all our dollars a job. Withdrawing every dollar when I receive a Venmo deposit simplifies the categorization step in YNAB (my affiliate link to get you started). The categorization step allows us to track how every dollar is made and every dollar is spent.
- It also allows us to then take that money and increase our wealth, by putting it somewhere it can grow (like a HYSA or investment account) or paying for something to avoid debt.
Keeping money in Venmo is like keeping money locked away. It prevents financial wealth from growing as fast as it can. It also makes it more difficult to master a budget. I don’t know about you, but I cannot keep track of how much money is in my Venmo handle once two or three transactions go through. I simply forget! If you think of your dollars as little employees working for you, then you are essentially keeping your employees in a cage preventing them from accomplishing work!
And one final note. There is a circulating argument that it is more convenient to pay a friend when there is already money in a Venmo account. I just want to attest to the fact that it’s not any more difficult to make a payment through Venmo by pulling the money directly from a bank account. And if, by “convenient”, one means that they can justify spending money more easily when it’s already in an account meant for fun activities (dining out, birthday gifts, pizza, etc.), then that’s just them fooling themselves. But they would be right.
It’s easy to tell yourself, “I can dine out tonight and I’ll venmo my friend Bob for the meal. There’s still money in my Venmo account.”
That IS convenient! But you aren’t getting any richer.
Imagine the alternative. Your friend Sue pays you for last week’s dinner. You had offered to pay for the meal for your group of friends so that you can earn the credit card reward points in order to travel hack and fly internationally for free. You immediately transfer the money Sue gives you and place it in your HYSA (this is my affiliate link to set a HYSA up with Marcus. It gives my readers an additional 0.2% APY boost). When Bob asks if you want to grab dinner, you think about how you don’t have enough in your “Dining Out” envelope for dinner tonight. You ask if Bob would prefer to order pizza and save $10 a person or if he would be open to rescheduling to a future date when more people can join so that you can catch up with multiple friends at once and save on your “dining out” spending.
Sure, it isn’t glamorous. But it isn’t inconvenient either. It is simply … financially SMART.
After you’ve emptied your Venmo accounts, consider – Where else are you holding your money for the “just because”? And then go out there and pay yourself first. Make your money make money for you.
Your life energy will thank you.