Spring is officially in full swing! This is the time of the year when we go through our homes to get rid of clutter and organize the things that we decide to keep.
And let’s be real – we make room for the new things that we’re about to purchase.
What if you decided to carry that same spring-cleaning energy over into your finances? What would that look like?
Here are 6 things that you should take a fresh look at right now.
1. Insurance and Beneficiaries
This is an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people but it’s a conversation that must happen. It’s no secret that we all have to leave this Earth one day.
It’s also possible for you to become incapacitated to the point where communication is impossible. If either happens to you, what will come of your assets?
Unfortunately, the emotions brought out of our loved ones during times like these lead to decisions that we wouldn’t agree with.
Take a look at:
- Bank accounts
- Life insurance policies
- Retirement accounts
- Investment accounts
- Property deeds and titles
In looking at these things you’ll need to make some hard decisions about who has control of your material possessions once you’re no longer able to handle affairs yourself. These decisions may lead to hurt feelings and bruised egos.
Don’t overcompensate because of someone’s feelings. Put designations in place that give you confidence and peace in knowing that things will be handled responsibly on your behalf.
2. Emergency Contacts
You thought that bae would be around forever. You thought that nothing would tear you and your best friend apart for good.
Yet those people aren’t in your life anymore and basically everybody asks you for at least one emergency contact – jobs, medical providers, your apartment complex and even your phone.
A lot can change year to year and this is another important thing to keep current. Even if you’re still close to the people listed from the previous year you should still make sure that phone numbers are current.
Also take into account an emergency contact’s lifestyle. If you list someone who can’t answer their phone for long periods of time you should consider removing that person.
3. Financial Goals
We’re always learning and growing which means that our goals evolve to better fit the person we’re becoming. Take a look at the financial goals you laid out in 2018 and even in at the top of 2019.
If you were diligent then it’s likely that you’ve checked “done” on a lot of those things. Now you need to decide what the priorities will be going forward.
Here are some popular financial goals:
- Putting more money away for retirement
- Saving for a home purchase
- Paying off consumer debt
- Growing a rainy-day fund
Whatever you decide on as financial goals make sure you’re being true to yourself.
Don’t focus on what everyone else is doing on the social media highlight reels. Assess what things are important to your future and plan accordingly.
Changes in your financial goals trickle down to an adjustment in how you spend money. For example, if you want to pay off your consumer debt a budget adjustment for you might be to do a “no spend” challenge which means that you purchase necessities only and nothing more.
If that’s too extreme for you it’s okay! Budgets are fluid and you can experiment until you find a method that works best. Get started by taking note of everything you purchase manually or by using a mobile phone app such as Mint.
You might think you’re responsible with spending but numbers don’t lie and it’s possible that you’re spending money on frivolous things. Even when reaching for financial progress you must remember self-care.
Always set money aside for you to enjoy a hobby or time with family and friends.
5. Shopping for Better Rates
Insurance policies. Utility providers. Housekeeping services. If you pay your bill on time and have no major issues with service providers then you may see it as a no brainer to continue doing business with them.
The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality doesn’t apply here.
You can research other companies or even check with current providers to see what kind of discounts are offered. I’ve found that companies won’t reach out to offer you specials but if you call and ask, they’ll make the adjustment quickly.
6. Check Account Statements
This tip applies especially if you have bills on autopay. You should be checking your statements at least once a month for any discrepancies.
Waiting any longer than that means you can have major money siphoned from your account before you notice an issue; which then makes it more difficult to file a fraud claim that appears credible.
Looking at your bank and credit card statements can also give you a black and white version of your spending habits. If you have retirement accounts you should check those statements as well. You may need to adjust your allocations so that the money can grow at a healthy pace.
Finances play a big role in the way we’re able to move through life so it’s good practice to schedule a money checkup the same way you schedule doctor appointments or maintenance for a car.
What methods do you practice to keep your finances in top shape?