For many of us, warmer weather and melting snow are signs that it’s time to clean house.
While you’re at it, spruce up your finances.
Here are six things you can do this season:
Organize and back up your files.
It’s easy to accumulate a mountain of paperwork, pamphlets and forms throughout the year. We all have emails flagged and documents set aside in a “to deal with in the future” pile. The future is now! Sort through your paperwork (either digital or physical) and shred duplicate documents that you no longer need. If you’re a digital filer, scan the documents you need, then shred them. Be sure to back up your files in a secure folder on your external hard drive.
Change your passwords.
This can be tedious, but it’s worth it. The task of updating and remembering all your passwords will be nothing compared to the headache that identity theft can cause. Start with passwords to accounts with financial information and work down the list. Consider using a password management tool to help keep track.
Set up automatic bill pay to make sure you don’t miss payments.
Finally setting up automatic bill pay means you have one less thing to do each month moving forward. This will not only save you time but will also help make sure you pay bills on time. While you’re at it, set up automatic savings to transfer money into your savings account each time you’re paid.
Take stock of your retirement investments and consolidate if it makes sense.
Many people have at least one retirement account from a previous employer. Rolling older accounts into your current employer’s plan can streamline your retirement savings. It can also reduce the number of statements and accounts you need to keep track of (see the first bullet above). Does this make sense for you financially? Review things like whether your current employer’s plan is on par or better than your last employer’s plan. In particular, be sure to compare the fees associated with each plan.
Update your estate plan and beneficiaries as needed.
While developing a plan to grow wealth is essential, having a plan to pass on that wealth is also important. Review your estate plan, including wills and trusts, to be sure your primary and secondary beneficiary information is up to date.
Refresh your financial plan.
A year can make a big difference in a life and in some cases, can change financial situations and goals. Set up time with your financial advisor to review your budget and goals and account for any changes.
Spring can be a reason to tidy up not only your home, but also your personal finances. Improvements made now can help you enjoy more financially successful seasons throughout the rest of the year.