Spring Clean Your Money
It’s time for spring cleaning! All around my neighborhood, people are mulching flower beds, fertilizing lawns, and cleaning up their yards. Inside, folks are dusting, washing curtains, and steam cleaning carpets. These deep cleaning chores we do once or twice a year help to keep our homes and lawns well cared for. With tax season winding down, this is also a great time for those occasional money tweaks which will make sure our finances are in order. It’s time to spring clean your money!
If you ended up either owing the IRS a large amount of money or you received a refund of $1,000 or more, consult with your tax professional to adjust your withholdings or estimated tax payments. Owing the IRS is super stressful, so fine-tuning your estimated tax payments throughout the year will keep you on track. Allowing Uncle Sam to babysit a large chunk of your money is also a bad idea! Check out my recent video that tells you why.
When was the last time you met with your financial advisor? Ideally, you should be meeting with your investment professional at least once a year. Stop read this and make an appointment with him or her right now! You are paying them to manage your investments and you need to ensure you’re on track for retirement. A lot can change over the course of a year – birth of a child, marital status, market conditions – and it’s likely your investment mix with need to be adjusted to reflect that.
The thought of looking at our insurance policy documents makes most of us want to run screaming out of the house. Make an appointment with your insurance agent at least every one to two years to review your coverages. You don’t want to wait until your basement floods or a tornado hits to find out you’re not covered properly. It’s also a wise idea to get a competitive quote for your home and auto every few years from another insurance company to ensure you aren’t overpaying for your policies.
Are you still paying off your credit card charges from the holidays? Now is a great time to set up a separate savings account for Christmas. Even if you just deposit $25 per week, you’ll have close to $1,000 saved up by the time the holidays roll around in December! If you have a vacation or other large expense coming in the fall or winter, you can do the same thing so you don’t have to charge it and pay interest.
If you’ve fallen off of the budgeting wagon, or maybe you never got on it, spring is the perfect time to get back at it. Formulating a spending plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to set up and maintain a budget. If your online banking website doesn’t have a budget function built in, check out Mint.com.
Expand your money IQ by reading a book on personal finance or taking an online course. My book Money is Emotional: Prevent Your Heart from Hijacking Your Wallet is now available on Amazon for your reading pleasure! It’s divided into bite-sized, manageable pieces. If you use Facebook, check out my online Mindful Money Academy. It’s a 6-week online money wellness program that costs less than $1 per day and only takes 10 to 15 minutes daily. Plus it doesn’t require you to eat beans and rice or to spend hours updating budget spreadsheets! Check out my Events page to sign up!