With our hectic schedules it is difficult to eat a balanced meal, let alone achieve balance in our financial lives. Here are 5 quick steps that will have you feeling healthy about your finances before the end of 2016.
- Know where everything is and how much everything is worth
Instead of using a spreadsheet to manually track your bank accounts, investments, loans and liabilities use an app specifically designed to help with finances. This will allow you to see your entire financial picture in one place, in real-time. Once you know where you are today it will be easier to decide where you want to be and set financial goals for your future.
- Set a budget and stick to it
Start by taking a look at your spending habits over the past quarter and using the average spending in each category to create your budget “buckets”. Monitor your spending over the next month to see how realistic your budgets are. You may be surprised at how much you are spending in certain areas, so regroup and refresh the budget as needed to help reach your goals, and remember; always pay yourself first by creating a savings bucket.
- Take full advantage of your work benefits
It is open enrollment time again! Every year you must update your insurance elections, but have you taken the time to review your other employee benefits? Are there benefits that you have not taken advantage of? Be sure to set aside the time to review and update your current retirement account elections. Does it make sense to also make Roth 401(k) contributions (if available)? Analyze the plan’s investment options and make sure your account is allocated appropriately given your time horizon for retirement.
- Review your will and estate plan
Many of us finally get around to creating a will and estate plan when we start a family. Has your plan been updated now that you purchased a new home or welcomed another baby into your family? Make sure you review the plan annually and schedule a call with your estate planning attorney for an annual review to make sure your plan is not affected by any new estate planning laws.
- Evaluate your life insurance coverage
We are all busy, but as your personal situation changes (marriage, children, home purchases, new jobs) make sure to review your insurance policies for adequate coverage and that your listed beneficiaries are still appropriate.
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