It’s more than your house that can use Spring cleaning. If you are like most people, your finances could probably use a little work as well. Now is a great time to start and most of the items that should be on your financial Spring cleaning list can be completed in less than 30 minutes.
What is one of the most likely areas that needs a little Spring cleaning?
For almost everyone it is their budget and it primarily comes from being new to budgeting or they haven’t really updated their budget since creating it several years ago. No one gets a budget right the first time and your budget does change through your lifetime.
What advice do you have for cleaning up the budget?
It starts with an honest evaluation of your spending which can only come by reviewing your past history. Use your past performance as a guide for where your budget numbers should really be. If you are spending $100 per week eating out, then budget that amount. Don’t set it at $25 if you are really not going to change your habits.
Should consumers review the rates on their loans regularly?
It is always a good idea to check rates, especially if your credit score has improved in the last couple of years. Make sure the cost of refinancing any debt is covered by the savings you will get with the lower rate. This applies to all of your debt: mortgage, auto loan, credit cards.
Are there any Spring cleaning chores for someone’s investments?
There are two very important annual tasks for your investments. The first is portfolio re-balancing. Rebalancing requires you to shift your holdings to match your planned diversification percentages. The second is reviewing your risk tolerance to make sure it matches your current life stage.
Are there any estate planning items that should be part of this Spring cleaning effort?
The most important are related to changes in your family situation, if you have gotten married, divorced, added children – then you should make sure you have updated your will and also updated your beneficiaries on your investments and life insurance.
Are any of these activities really time consuming?
Most of them can be rather quick, maybe up to 30 minutes of your time. There are a couple of items on this list that will be more time consuming but they are probably the most important to make sure that you complete on a regular basis.