Spring is here-ish and it’s time to open the windows and tackle our springtime to-do lists.
And as long as you’re on a roll, why not turn a little of that energy to your finances? After all, you just had to dig out all your paperwork to deal with your taxes. Instead of just shoving it back into the box or filing cabinet, why not give it a good spring cleaning too? You can do it! And we’ve got seven easy tips that can help.
1. Get a copy of your credit report.
Errors on your report could make it hard to get a loan or a credit card. You also want to make sure no one has opened accounts in your name. You can get one free annual report from each of the three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) by going to annualcreditreport.com. If you do find a mistake, notify the three credit bureaus and get it corrected.
2. Do a big picture financial review.
Now’s a good time to figure out if you need to make changes to get and/or stay on track. Good things to put on the list include saving for major goals (like a house, the kids’ college or retirement) and building an emergency fund (aim to cover all expenses for at least three months).
3. Review your insurance policies.
Do some rate shopping but make sure you’re comparing apples to apples – there could be a reason one policy seems so much cheaper than another. And if you’ve changed or remodeled your home or property, make sure that’s reflected in your insurance coverage.
4. Consolidate retirement accounts.
If you’ve switched jobs and have a 401(k) from a previous employer, don’t just let it sit there – make sure it’s hard at work. The retirement goals you had when you set it up may have changed.
5. Go through your documents.
Sure, it’s tempting to save everything but most of us don’t have space for that. There are some documents you should keep forever and ever – birth/marriage/death certificates, divorce decrees, wills, Social Security cards and military discharge papers all fall into that category. For tax-related records the experts usually recommend seven years.* And if you have assets, whether it’s something like a stock or a piece of property, hold on to records for as long as you own it, plus three years.
You can scan and store receipts and records electronically—but if you go that route, make sure your records are thorough and back them up! Have documents to dispose of? Don’t just toss them in the trash: shred ‘em!
6. Update (and protect!) your passwords.
It’s a good idea to change your passwords at least once a year and to store them in a password-protected document.
7. Celebrate Money Smart Week (typically in April) with a new financial goal.
Now that your finances are all clean and tidy, give yourself a new financial challenge and make it happen with Summit’s Climbr®. This online tool makes it easy to track your expenses and set goals. Check it out!
That wasn’t so hard and now you can relax and enjoy spring knowing your finances are all cleaned up!