Financial spring cleaning is an important part of being fiscally fit, but don’t limit yourself to clearing the financial clutter during a specific season: Financial spring cleaning should
always be in season, keeping you focused on your short-term and long-term money goals.
Less Paperwork, Less Stress
Letting paperwork pile up can lead to clutter and stress. Consider cleaning out the clutter. When possible, move to paperless financial statements and store digital versions of your statements in an encrypted folder, which makes them easy to search in the future. Set up a filing system that allows you to store your papers as they come in. That way, you won’t have to sort through them all later. Create a folder for tax receipts and other important documents. Irreplaceable documents should be placed in a fireproof document safe. Once you have a system in place, it’s also less stressful to manage your documents and your finances. You’ll spend less time with paperwork, and feel better for it.
Stay on Top of Things
Periodically review your statements and documents to keep track of your financial picture. Review your latest policy papers and note changes in coverage, and make sure beneficiary information is up to date. Stay connected to your situation. If you need to change beneficiaries, or if you need additional coverage, you can take care of matters before it’s too late.
Protect Against Offline and Online Theft
Regularly review your account statements to protect against offline and online theft. Because you are more organized, it’s a simple matter to compare your records with your account statements. If you notice something out of place — a fraudulent charge or an account that isn’t yours — you can report it early and limit the damage. At least once a quarter, review your important papers and take stock of your valuable items. Checking these items can help you make sure nothing has been stolen. If you work with a money manager, periodic reviews help you ensure you aren’t being taken advantage of. You can also double-check your insurance policies to ensure adequate coverage. If you’ve made some valuable purchases for your home, or if you have upgraded your car, you want to make sure that those increases in value are covered under your insurance policies, just in case those items are stolen.
Identify Holes in Your Insurance Coverage
In addition to your homeowners and car insurance, periodically review your other insurance policies to ensure you are adequately covered. Insurance is meant to protect your assets. Holes in your coverage can be costly when the unexpected happens. From health insurance to disability protection to liability coverage, make sure you are prepared for any potential costs. You also can protect your family’s financial future by reviewing your life insurance coverage. When you receive a raise, consider increasing your life insurance to cover the increase in your salary.
Monitor Your Credit
Because your credit is basically your financial reputation, you want to make sure everything is in order. Regularly check your credit reports for erroneous and fraudulent information. You also should regularly check your accounts for evidence your identity has been stolen and is being used in ways that could drag your credit down. The right systems in place to help you regularly “spring clean” your finances can keep you on top of your money year round.
2015-3219 (Exp. 03/17)