The start of spring is a good chance to start with a clean slate and plan for a better year ahead. If your finances didn’t fare so well in the previous year, or even if they did, it can be a great time to rethink your approach and give yourself a financial checkup to ensure you’re on the right path.
What goes into a spring cleaning / checkup?
Start by checking how your financial goals from the previous year were met, and how you should modify them in the coming year. Do you have enough money saved in an emergency fund to pay for six months to a year’s expenses if you lose your job?
What life changes have occurred in the last year? If you’ve just had a child, are you saving for his or her college education? What other life events have changed that will change your goals for the year? If you’ve gotten divorced, married, changed jobs, moved or are retiring, your financial goals for the year may change dramatically.
It’s important to protect yourself and your assets by evaluating if you have enough insurance. Did you buy a new car or home? Did you add a room on to your home? Will your teenager start driving this year? Do you have long-term disability insurance in case you get injured and can’t work? It’s also a good time to review your trust and update it if you have any changes to make.
Getting rid of debts can be like giving yourself a raise. You’ll have that much more money to invest, save or spend by paying off credit card debts. It’s also a good idea to get a free copy of your credit report and make sure all of the information on it is accurate. Also check your home mortgage loan interest rate and see if you can get a better deal.
The South Coast Team can easily show you how to rebalance your portfolio, and your investments should be rebalanced several times each year to ensure you have a good mix of stocks, bonds and other investments. You also don’t want to be too heavily invested in one area, so be sure to diversify.
Making the maximum contribution to your 401(k) or other retirement account is a smart way to reduce your taxes and make sure you’re financially ready for the future. If you’re employer doesn’t have a retirement plan, or you’re self-employed, open an IRA account yourself and contribute as much as you can to it.
If you didn’t look at ways to reduce your income taxes before the end of last year, now is a good time to get a head start on finding deductions for this year’s taxes
At South Coast, we specialize in helping our clients plan for a better financial future. Schedule a “spring cleaning” meeting with us today.