Spring has officially sprung! While you may take this as an opportunity to spring clean your belongings, make sure you look at your financial life as well as it is easy for your finances to become unorganized when life gets busy. The time has come to evaluate and improve your financial fitness. Below are some areas to visit while spring cleaning this year:
- Review your taxes– Spring also marks the end of tax season. Make sure you review your 2016 tax return for areas to improve upon such as income tax withholding, itemized deductions, and tax credit opportunities to see if there is anything you can change so that you will be in a better position when tax season rolls around next year.
- Examine your retirement contributions– If you missed checking in on this with the new year, it’s a good time to revisit. Make sure you are set up to max your contributions, if possible, in accordance with the new contribution limits. If you are not able to max out these contributions, increasing them incrementally by 1% at a time is an easy way to increase your savings without feeling stretched.
- Check your credit report– This is important to check annually to review for any discrepancies or errors. Understanding what your credit score is and how it is determined can be important for achieving your future goals.
- Revisit your budget– Your spending levels play a big part in your financial success. Regularly monitoring them is a great way to spot any areas that you may be overspending and help you avoid the lifestyle creep.
- Evaluate your debt– Having high debt payments can make it harder to hit your savings goals. If you have credit card debt or student loans with a high interest rate, focus on paying them off first.
- Check your beneficiaries – Make sure your beneficiaries and estate documents don’t need to be updated after a life change such as new children or divorce.
- Assess your savings– Do you have enough saved in case of emergencies such as a job loss or a car breaking down? The rule of thumb is that this should be 3-6 months of your expenses and should be in a conservative cash like holding.
- Write down any new goals- Writing down your goals will help you keep yourself accountable. Make sure your goals are followed by action and monitor them and adjust as needed.
Regardless of what financial situation you may be in, monitoring your finances is an important step in your financial success. Talk to a financial planner if you find yourself overwhelmed or uncomfortable about these areas.
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