As Las Vegas quickly approaches daily 100-degree temperatures, it’s an indication that spring is gone and summer is upon us. But there’s still time to spring clean your finances. An annual cleanup can help you stay on track for financial success and be more organized throughout the year. Use the acronym “S.P.R.I.N.G.” and your finances can flourish all year long.
S – Shred old financial documents: Spring is a great time to get rid of old financial records, documents and pay stubs that are unnecessarily taking up space in your home. Keep your tax returns, canceled checks and any records that support tax deductions for auditing purposes, and then get rid of the rest. Remember to shred, not throw away, old financial documents to help protect against identity fraud.
P – Prioritize your expenses: With expensive air conditioning bills in your near future, spring is a good time to review and cut back on any unnecessary expenses. Look over your monthly expenditures and decide which items are necessary and which you can really live without. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save by cutting back just a little.
R – Review your credit report: You are legally entitled to receive one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus each year. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for your reports, and then do a thorough review of all three. If anything on your reports is inaccurate, contact the company directly to correct it.
I – Inspect your insurance coverage: Now is a good time to review your current insurance policies and make sure you’re still paying reasonable and competitive rates. If you think you could be paying too much, shop around and you may find some annual savings.
N – Negotiate your rates: Every year, make it a priority to look at each of your outstanding debts and the interest rates you’re paying on them. Contact your loan provider or credit card company and negotiate a lower rate, and if they don’t want to budge, talk to a few of their competitors to see if you can strike a better deal.
G – Go over your estate plan: Another important aspect of financial spring cleaning is reviewing your estate plan. If a marriage, divorce, birth or death has occurred since the last time you updated your estate documents, take action now to revise them accordingly.
Get these yearly tasks marked off your list by springing into action today. Taking the time once a year to freshen up your finances can help you stay in good financial shape year round.
Brad Zucker, RFC® is the president of Safe Money Advisors, Inc., a Las Vegas-based independent financial advisory firm. He blogs on personal finance every Monday for the RJ. For more information visit www.SafeMoneyAdvisorsNV.com or connect with him via Facebook and LinkedIn.