This spring don’t just focus on having a squeaky clean home. Like your closets, your finances also need an overhaul and these six steps will help you keep your financial life in order. Keep this check list handy and check off items as you go.
1. Organize paperwork – Clean up your finances by trashing old ATM receipts, paycheck stubs and bank statements. Make sure to shred these documents to avoid identity theft. Signing up for paperless billing reduces clutter so check with your bank or credit card company to see if they offer this as a free option. File other documents in a safe place. For really important documents that you must keep forever like birth certificates and wills, invest in a water and fireproof safe.
2. Check your credit report – Make sure everything in your credit report is accurate by downloading the free credit report you are entitled to receive every 12 months. You can ask for a free copy at AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only authorized source able to provide you with a free credit report. You can access your credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. If you find a mistake, report it.
3. Get the most from your bank – Compare the interest rate on your bank accounts with other bank offers. Even if you find an account that yields a slightly higher interest, consider switching as it can add up.
4. Reassess your retirement plan – If you are not participating in an employer-sponsored retirement program because your employer doesn’t offer this benefit or you are self-employed, open an IRA and start contributing to it today.
5. Protect what’s yours – Make sure your insurance is up-to-date and accurate. File it away in a safe place that is easily accessible in case of an emergency. While, you are add it, go thorough all your bank and investment accounts and review your beneficiaries. Make sure proper beneficiaries listed and if not make changes.
6. Update your budget – If you’ve been putting of reconciling your budget, now is the time to do it. Find out where your money is going and steer it in the direction you want it to go. This may mean sitting down with your financial adviser. Don’t have a financial adviser? Try a financial managing tool instead.
What are you doing to keep your finances in tip top shape?