When the warm weather finally hits, most of us get bit by the spring-cleaning bug. Our to-do lists often include cleaning out our garages, basements and closets. But this year, it might be time to add another section to the list: finances.
Whether you just need to reorganize or do a thorough cleansing, this to-do list will help you tidy up your financial house.
- De-clutter your credit cards — and your wallet: If your wallet is bulging with plastic, look at all your credit cards and trim down to the ones you really need on a regular basis. Evaluate your cards based on benefits such as cash back or airline miles and prioritize the ones with the greatest offerings. Store unneeded cards in a safe place or cancel the ones you don’t use. But, of course, take into consideration whether canceling a card will negatively affect your credit rating before doing so.
- Cancel unused memberships: If a new at-home exercise routine has replaced your trips to the health club or gym, or if you’re rarely playing golf at a course you belong to, consider canceling your membership. Even if you have to pay a fee, you may quickly recoup your financial losses.
- Negotiate better deals with your service providers: Whether it’s your cable, internet or waste removal company, chances are you can negotiate a better rate. Simply take time to get quotes from competitors. If they are offering lower rates for the same services, go back to your service provider to see if they will price match to keep your business. If not, switch to someone new.
- Consolidate accounts: Review all checking, savings, investment, retirement and credit card accounts and consider consolidating. Maintaining numerous accounts can increase the amount of time you spend opening mail, reconciling statements, keeping records and paying bills.
- Update your financial records: Make a list of your current financial accounts, contacts and passwords. Keep this information in a safe and secure place.
- Update your beneficiary designations: Your beneficiary designations override your will. So, if you’ve experienced a marriage, divorce, birth, adoption or death, make sure your beneficiary designations reflect your wishes.
- Simplify your investments: If tracking various investments stresses you out, consider asset allocation or managed accounts. Attempting to manage and track too many investment accounts can require a great deal of time and, if you’re not on top of the details, can prevent you making the best investment choices for your portfolio. Consider working with a financial professional to help you organize your finances and help you determine what kinds of investments might work best for you.
Consult a financial advisor for more ideas and strategies on ways to get your finances in order.
Andrew R. Petty, CRPC®, APMA®, CLTC®, is a Private Wealth Advisor with Nona Wealth Advisors, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. He offers fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 16 years. To contact him, please call 407-249-4006, visit his website at https://www.ameripriseadvisors.com/team/nona-wealth-advisors or stopover at his office at 10917 Dylan Loren Circle, Suite A, Orlando, FL 32825.
Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser.
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