Spring cleaning your finances: Reviewing your financial situation
Spring is just around the corner, and with that comes the proverbial spring cleaning. While most people recognize the value of scrubbing their homes, we recommend dusting off your finances as well.
Consider these tips for spring cleaning your finances to help ensure your financial house is cobweb-free.
Settle in for a review
- Review the titling and ownership of all financial accounts. Make certain any accounts owned and titled in a trust, or have a Payable upon Death (POD) designation, will meet desired intentions if a transfer were to take place.
- Make reviewing your credit report a part of spring cleaning your finances to make sure you’re in positive standing. You can request a free copy once every 12 months from annualcreditreport.com‡.
- Review insurance policy and retirement account beneficiaries. This is particularly important if there has been a recent change in marital status. A spousal waiver will be needed if the beneficiary is not the spouse.
Prepare for the future
- Execute a will and a living will. If these documents already exist, they should be reviewed on a regular basis. Circumstances and viewpoints change, which can heavily impact desired allocations and intentions.
Check up on your cards
- Check the interest rates that are being charged on all credit cards. For individuals who carry balances, consider consolidating to the card with the lowest interest rate or even contemplate a home equity line of credit (HELOC) as the interest may be tax-deductible.
- Utilize a credit card that offers rewards. Many of these now carry no annual fee and offer cash back in addition to the travel and merchandise rebates.
Evaluate your employer benefits
- If financially possible, when spring cleaning your finances, make the most of your 401(k) by contributing to the level that takes advantage of the full employer match.
- Review your health insurance coverage options to ensure you are making the best selections for yourself and your family. If you are currently enrolled in a high deductible health plan coupled with a health savings account (HSA), review your contributions to make sure you are maximizing your saving options.
Examine your life insurance
- When spring cleaning your finances be certain existing coverage will meet the financial needs of your family if any member were to pass away, not just the primary income source for the family. Also, if the only secured life insurance is provided by an employer, consider pricing other term policies. Remember employer-provided insurance may not transfer if there is a change in jobs.
- Research long-term care insurance. Ask your insurance provider about this coverage to ensure it offers home health care in addition to nursing home care. Life expectancy is much greater than it used to be, and in-home and community care continue to rise in price.
Freshen up on your investments
- Review or create an investment policy statement (IPS). This is an agreement with a financial advisor that states your investment purpose, time frame and risk tolerance. An IPS clearly states the investor’s goals and helps provide clear expectations, consistent communications and true accountability for both the advisor and the investor.
- Conduct homework for obtaining professional services from investment consultants, estate planning attorneys and certified public accountants. Seek references from trusted friends and colleagues and stick with specialists. Professionals will be able to offer insights and guidance that will help individuals succeed in reaching their financial planning goals.
UMB personal banking solutions offer convenience and simplicity to meet all of your past, present and future financial needs. From home loans to auto financing and everything in between, see how UMB personal banking can work with you to find the right products for your life and lifestyle.
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