It’s safe to say that many of us may have forgotten our New Year’s resolutions by now, and are looking to the spring season to start fresh. Cleaning out your closet to make room for the spring and summer stuff is one way to greet the season, but getting your financial life in order is a change that can improve the rest of your 2019 and beyond. Here’s a look at five things you can do this spring to tidy up your finances.
Set Up Automatic Payments
When it comes to paying your bills, modern technology can be your best friend. Whether you’re funding your savings account or a deposit into your 401(k), automatic deductions are the way to go, says financial advisor and CEO of Client Focused Advisors Jason Hill. Automatic payments can remove the hassle of manually initiating all of those transactions each month. Not only do pre-programmed withdrawals free up your to-do list, they also make budgeting a breeze, Hill says. When your automated accounts are set up to make necessary savings payments for you, you can focus your budgeting energies on tangible expenses, like rent, food, transportation, and other life essentials.
Look Over Your Accounts
Take stock of all your accounts — everything from checking to savings, IRAs, old 401(k)s and everything in between. How many do you have? Are there any collecting dust (and possibly fees) that you’ve forgotten, or left unattended for years? Since many people change jobs every few years, it’s important to check on old retirement accounts that may have been abandoned and consider combining them into a current, well-managed portfolio perhaps via an IRA rollover. While you’re at it, take a look at any fees you may be paying, and how your assets are allocated. It may be time for a change.
Don’t Forget Your Insurance
A lot can happen in a year. There may have been significant new developments in your life since your last spring cleaning, and you may need to drop or increase insurance coverage. Maybe you had a baby, bought a house or got married. Your previous plan may no longer satisfy your needs. Or, you may be able to save some money by shopping fresh. And, if the need has arisen (through the arrival of a child who is now dependent on your income) check out life insurance options that may be right for you. Due to new technology that may remove the need for medical examinations and a higher overall life expectancy, life insurance is cheaper and easier to purchase than ever, Hill says.
Update Your Beneficiaries
While no one likes to talk about death, it’s a necessity at times. If you fail to update the beneficiaries on your insurance policies and retirement accounts, your assets may go to someone you haven’t seen or talked to in years, Hill warns. For instance, a former spouse might still be listed as your beneficiary, even if you divorced a long time ago. So this spring, as un-fun as it may be, make sure to take a look at your beneficiaries and confirm they are who you want them to be, Hill says. You may be surprised how good it feels to have this easy item crossed off your to-do list.
Consider Going Paperless
Many credit unions and banks now provide their customers with the option to go paperless, meaning no more printed monthly statements arriving in your mailbox. Rather, you can look forward to digital statements delivered to your email inbox or your online bank account. Not only will going paperless makes it easier for you to review a specific bill you may be searching for, it will also spare you adding to your pile of unopened envelopes. In addition, no more printed statements means you’re also doing your best to reduce your carbon footprint — a truly green way to celebrate the first buds of spring.
with Megi Meskhi