It’s time to talk about spring cleaning! Financial spring cleaning.
Or, as I like to call them – New Year’s resolutions we haven’t got to…yet.
Yes, it has been that long and procrastination has set in. Don’t worry, you can still get on top of your finances and get that house in order for 2016, with some tips and tricks that will get you on a better financial footing for 2017.
- MycreditUnion.gov recommends an actual spring cleaning. Organize and shred any financial documents older than six years. The IRS can only audit you back six years, so keep your tax returns, canceled checks, documentation that supports your deductions, and any receipts. Then you can shred the rest to dispose of it. DO not just trash financial information without shredding it first!
- Stop overpaying on your withholding tax! US News and World Report advocates adjusting your withholding so that more money goes in your pocket instead of the governments – at least in your pocket it can earn interest, be it in an IRA, 401K, or HSA account. Even CDs are back after a long hiatus, and posting some more attractive long term interest rates.
- Run your free annual credit report. It’s just like checking the smoke detectors and changing out the batteries. You should do it once per year and it’s free! Do not ever pay for your free annual credit report! The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you one three-company credit report per year. Why? You need to report inaccurate, erroneous, and incomplete information, as well as to make sure that you have not been a victim of identity theft.
- Update your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance and make a home inventory of everything you need to have covered at replacement value, then go to your insurance agent and see about bundling policies such as homeowner’s/renter’s and car insurance. Bundling policies can save you a bundle.
- Get rid of clutter charges. Do you really need to pay for Amazon Prime? That curated subscription box? Do you ever watch all of the channels that you pay for? Could you bundle your phone and internet, then ditch the cable or the dish? How much money is going out of your bank account to stuff you use rarely or not at all? You’d be surprised at how much you’re bleeding in drips each month.
There are lots of other things you can do, from creating a budget to follow each month to working with a credit counselor or a financial adviser to get your house in order. You’ll feel a lot better and might be in better shape than you thought. You can even come in and start taking charge of your future by drawing vital documents such as wills and trusts, and start planning to protect your assets. On the other side of things, if you’re not in the shape that you need to be, we can help you by consolidating or negotiating debt, work with you to tame student loans, and other services to help you get your finances under control.