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Spring Clean Your Finances

 

 

It’s time to throw open the windows and start the annual spring cleaning of our house.  But have you thought about spring cleaning your finances? Spring Cleaning

 
The 8 tips below are a great place to start!

 

  1. Start with your budget.  Take an afternoon to go over your spending during the past few months. Do you notice any problem spending areas? Or are there any areas where you’re budgeting more than you need to? Adjust your budget accordingly.  If you are constantly tweaking it throughout the month, you’re spending too much time on it! Work to simplify your budget by creating fewer, broader categories. Spending will still be in check, but your budget will take up less head space.

 

  1. Clean up your accounts. Consolidate accounts, get rid of unused accounts and toss dusty, old checks and statements. If you’re unhappy with your bank, now is a great time to switch. Check out your retirement accounts too. Many people have at least one retirement account from an old employer sitting around. Instead of dealing with multiple 401(k) accounts, consider rolling them into an IRA or into your current 401(k) to streamline your retirement accounts.  We can help you evaluate the best option.

 

  1. Opt for less paper. Most accounts these have a paperless billing option. Not receiving all those paper bills in the mail (especially if you log online to pay bills, anyway) can cut back on those piles of paper taking over the kitchen counter. Besides, less paper is good for the environment too!

 

  1. Check your withholding. When setting up your income tax withholding, your goal should be to achieve a balance. You want to get as much as possible in your paychecks without owing Uncle Sam when you file taxes. Uncle Sam will be happy to have your money early, pay you no interest, and give you your refund when you file your tax return.  Make adjustments now as needed.

 

  1. Create a home inventory. Since you have homeowners or renters insurance, it’s a great idea to also have a home inventory of all your possessions. An inventory will make it much easier to replace your items in case of a disaster. Take photos of most of the items in your home – especially big-ticket items such as electronics and furniture. Then, write down the approximate amount that you paid for the item, and start saving receipts for new items you bring into your home.

 

  1. Shop around. If it’s been awhile since you shopped around for better rates on your car insurance, cable, cell phone plan or other recurring items, now is the time. You should be shopping for better rates at least once a year – preferably twice – to ensure you’re not overpaying for services.

 

  1. Check up on insurance coverage. When was the last time you reviewed your car, homeowners or life insurance policies? It may be time to give your insurance a check-up. Pull copies of your policy documents to ensure you have adequate coverage. You may need to upgrade your life insurance if you’ve recently had a child or received a significant raise. LIMRA (Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association) shows that as housing construction costs fluctuate, you may also need to adjust your homeowners insurance policy up or down to ensure you could rebuild in case of a total loss.

 

  1. Sort out paperwork. Take time to sort through your paperwork and files, and shred the documents you no longer need. For instance, the federal government recommends that you only need to keep bank statements for a year, and you can discard tax documents (and their supporting records) after seven years.

If you have any questions as you spring clean your finances,reach out to us or your financial services advisor!

 

Source: U.S. News & World Report

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