Financial Spring Cleaning
May 4, 2020
With the world at a standstill, you may find you have more time on your hands. Yes, you may be working from home, but when you subtract your commute, daily traffic jams, and social distractions, you may find enough time in the day to tackle some much-needed cleanup.
But by cleanup, we don’t mean your closets or the entire house. We mean straightening up the important aspects of your financial life.
The following resource details a few financial areas that may be helpful to de-clutter in order to avoid potential issues down the road.
With most establishments on lockdown, your spending has probably been reduced. Do you ever stop to see what you are spending your money on? Take a few minutes to do the following:
- Review your bank statements – Do you have automatic withdrawals that you don’t even remember setting up draining your account?
- Look at your credit card statements – Most credit card companies have apps that will categorize your spending and give you several ways to evaluate your spending habits.
- Log on to your bill pay – Do you see payments going out for services you don’t use?
- Create a budget – Consider tracking your spending manually through a spreadsheet or tools your bank offers, or trying one of the many budgeting apps available.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, most people keep unnecessary paper documents much longer than needed. The following guidelines detail which important documents to shred and the timeframe in which they should be shredded:
- Immediately – Shred things like sales receipts, ATM receipts, paid credit card bills, and utility bills.
- Up to one year – Pay stubs, bank statements, and paid undisputed medical bills.
- After 7 years – Tax-related receipts and canceled checks, W-2’s, and records for tax deductions taken.
- Never – Birth certificates, social security cards, marriage or divorce decrees, citizenship papers, adoption papers, death certificates, and tax returns.
Make a Charitable Donation
Not all donations have to be given via checks and cash. Many places accept charitable donations of clothes, household items, or other gently used items. After you clean out your closet, consider calling a local charity to arrange curbside pick-up.
Review Your Will
As you are aware, a will is a legal document that ensures your wishes are carried out upon your passing. A good question to ask first maybe – do you have a will? Or if you have a will, have you revisited it recently?
Certain life events, like getting married or having children, significantly increases the need for a will. Regular review of your will ensures the proper distribution of assets as well as other important factors such as who will take care of your minor children or estate if something was to take place. If you don’t have a will created yet, now may be a good time to look into it,
Review Account Beneficiaries
Review your designation of primary and contingent beneficiaries on bank accounts, certificates of deposit, retirement accounts, investment accounts, and all other assets. Certain life events, such as marriage or having children, also increase the need to review these designations.
Review Your Mortgage Interest Rates
Mortgage interest rates are at all-time lows. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should run out and refinance today. A few questions to consider before applying are:
- How much will I save? Most lenders say reducing your interest rate by 1.5 to 2% is the sweet spot for a refinance.
- How much are the closing costs? Determine a breakeven point and make sure your closing costs don’t overshadow your savings.
- Do I have a prepayment penalty? Determine if your current mortgage or home equity loan has a prepayment penalty.
- Do I plan on keeping my home long term? Don’t spend time, money, and effort refinancing only to move out in 2-3 years.
These are just a few of the types of “financial cleanups” to consider at this time. Taking the necessary steps to tighten up these areas can help reduce potential problems in the future.
Feeling a little overwhelmed? You don’t have to do them all at once or all alone. Pick one or two critical items and focus on those first, and know if you have questions, we are here to help. Please Contact Us if you have questions or want help to create a prioritized a financial plan to straighten up your finances while spring cleaning
Advisory Services offered through SC&H Financial Advisors, Inc. SC&H Financial Advisors, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of SC&H Group, Inc.
These materials have been prepared by SC&H Financial Advisors for informational purposes and does not constitute or form part of, and should not be construed as, an offer to sell or issue, a solicitation of any offer to buy, or a recommendation with respect to, any securities and should not be relied upon as investment advice. The views expressed are subject to change. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
This communication is not intended to provide tax, legal, insurance or other professional advice. It is not intended as the primary basis for financial planning or investment decisions and should not be construed as advice meeting the particular investment needs of any investor. Any action taken based on information in this communication should be taken only after a detailed review of the specific facts, circumstances of your individual situation and current law. Please contact your advisor for further guidance.