If you’re like most Americans, you’ve suddenly found yourself spending all your time at home. With the absence of commuting, socializing, or other outside-the-home activities, you may be wondering how you can make the best use of your time. Why not do some financial spring cleaning? It’s the perfect opportunity to not only organize and declutter your home, but also give your finances a little extra love. It might even relieve some stress to be proactive and gain a better understanding of your financial situation. Here are a few ways to do just that.
1. Cut Down On Financial Clutter And Documents
There’s a reason why we tend to put paperwork off as long as possible—it seems like a daunting task! But just think of how you’ll feel when it’s all done. Start with shredding old bank statements, pay stubs, and anything that has your personal information on it from more than two months ago. This decreases the risk of identity theft, frees up extra space, and allows you to find important documents much faster. Most banks, credit unions, and employers keep a digital file of all these statements should you need them for any reason.
Paper documents related to investments, home improvements, and taxes should be kept for seven years. Use the following link to find more details on what records to keep and for how long. (1)
2. Do A Credit Check
Did you know you can access your credit report for free? You can get three free credit reports a year from annualcreditreport.com and a free TransUnion and Equifax report once a week from creditkarma.com. Unlike some free credit reporting options, these are accurate records of your credit from three national credit bureaus. Whether you have great credit or you’re a little nervous to check your score, the important thing is that you are informed about your situation.
Doing all your banking, shopping, vacation bookings, and investments online is great for convenience, but having that personal information transmitted through the internet means you’re more susceptible to cyberattacks and identity theft. As a result, there is a higher chance that someone could obtain that information and start using your credit without you being aware of it. So even if you know the exact balance and interest rate from every creditor you pay, staying on top of your credit will alert you to any suspicious behavior before it’s too late.
3. Review Your Interest Rates And Create A Budget
If you want something, sometimes all you have to do is ask. Since the Feds recently made a significant cut to interest rates, bringing them down to 0%-0.25%, it might be worth it to give your creditors a call to see if they can lower your credit card interest rates. If that doesn’t work, consider consolidating to a 0% interest rate credit card and transfer the balance so you can pay off the debt faster. Also, look at refinancing your vehicle loan or mortgage to pay off the debt faster or decrease the minimum payment so you can put more toward your emergency fund.
In light of recent massive lifestyle changes, it’s a good idea to revisit your budget and spending right now. If you haven’t used a budget before, a few easy-to-use budgeting apps to choose from are Mint, PocketGaurd, GoodBudget (multiple users can access the same account), and YNAB or EveryDollar for zero-based budgeting. Some of these are free or have options to upgrade to a version that enables your banking to be automatically synced with the app. This way your expenses are imported into the app, allowing you to quickly assign expenses to all your budget categories without manually importing anything.
Wrap It Up
Now that you are completely aware of your financial situation and know where to find things when you need them, you’ll experience added peace of mind—just when it’s needed. To make sure you haven’t missed anything, allow Security Financial Management to conduct a financial checkup and help you set some financial goals. If you want to benefit from the knowledge and experience of a financial advisor as you spring clean your finances, schedule a call today!
About Security Financial Management
Security Financial Management is an independent financial services firm dedicated to delivering exceptional service built on reliability and trust. With 3 locations in Central Florida and 1 in Rochester, MN, SFM has been partnering with clients for over 25 years, providing comprehensive financial planning. To learn more about Security Financial Management, connect with them on LinkedIn.
Advisory services offered through Investment Advisors, a division of ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Broker-Dealer, Member, FINRA & SIPC.
Security Financial Management is independent of ProEquities, Inc.