After many of us have experienced months of a cold, dreary winter, the tide turns to warmer weather, bringing with it new life and a fresh start. As you sweep out the dust and brush away the cobwebs, consider not only spring cleaning your home but also your finances.
Take these six steps to put your financial house in order.
Plant Seeds for Future Financial Success
When it comes to planting vegetables and flowers, March and April stand as key months for starting seeds indoors. Spring is an ideal time to sow financial seeds as well. If you dont have a budget in place, create one now. Next, take time to review the following financial accounts and make adjustments to maximize financial gains.
- 401(k), Roth IRA and other retirement contributions
- Tax withholdings
- College savings
Tidy up Your Financial Paperwork
Financial paperwork, such as bank statements, check stubs, tax documents tend to stack up swiftly. This spring, clean out your paperwork.
- Discard unneeded and outdated records. The record type will indicate how long you should keep the document on file. For example, you should save tax documents for seven years, while pay stubs may be shredded after one year.
- Make electronic copies of documents you should keep. Youll save space and be able to more readily locate the items.
- Set up e-delivery and auto bill pay when appropriate. In some cases, this step can also save you money as banks and other institutions move to paid paper statements.
Spring is the perfect time to discard of unwanted items. Those things holding you back instead of pushing you forward. If you have debt hanging over your head, use this time to evaluate where and how you can start paying it down. Some people choose to pay off the smallest debt first, while others opt to tackle the debt with the highest interest rate. Form a plan and work toward becoming debt-free.
Check-up on Your Credit Report
Your credit score can impact everything from your cell phone rates to finding a place to live and obtaining insurance. Know your number. Federal law entitles you to a copy of your credit report from Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion® once every 12 months. With an understanding of your credit score, you can take action and work to improve your score if necessary.
Dust Off Your Passwords
Identity theft hit an all-time high in 2017. One way to protect your identity is through strong passwords.
- Dont use the same password for all of your financial accounts.
- Craft your passwords with length and complexity in mind.
- Store your passwords in an encrypted note or a secure platform such as 1Password
Conduct an Insurance Inventory
Are you covered in the event of a catastrophe? Review your health, life and home insurance plans to ensure you still have the optimum coverage for your needs. Take an inventory of possessions by photographing your property. Update your records to include these belongings in the case you need to call on insurance for help.
By following these steps, youll be in a better position for the rest of the year … ready to start fresh, with feelings of renewal and joy. All the hallmarks of spring wrapped up with a sense of financial peace-of-mind.