Web Content Viewer

Actions

5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances

Mar 18, 2019 3 min read Heather R. Johnson

Key Takeaways

  • When spring cleaning your finances, think about what you can add to your financial picture.
  • Consider starting with a portfolio review from a financial advisor.
  • Review the need to add or amend essentials such as an IRA, life insurance and a will.

 

As the ice thaws and hints of green appear, many of us spend weekends deep-cleaning the house, clearing out clutter and organizing what's left. While you're deciding what to keep, toss and donate, see if you can translate Marie Kondo's tidying up methods to financial advice — with one exception.

Instead of focusing only on eliminating and organizing, think about what you can add to your financial portfolio to help improve financial stability. Here are a few suggestions to enhance your financial picture without adding complexity.

 

Get a professional portfolio review

When was the last time you met with a financial planner? If it's been a year or more, it may be time to reconnect or find one. A financial planner can help you determine whether your investments match your current risk tolerance and life goals. Should you put more into your 401(k)? Is now a good time to buy or sell a home? How can you lower your tax burden? A financial planner can help you find answers.

During a portfolio review, your financial planner will review your retirement and other investment accounts, financial particulars, and make suggestions as needed. From there, they can make suggestions for rebalancing your portfolio.

 

 

Create a budget

Hopefully, you already have a solid plan in place to pay bills on time and review your income and expenses. But do you also have a budget for this year and next?

A budget is a roadmap to help you reach your savings goals. If you want to save for a home down payment, sock away more for retirement or pay off debt, a budget helps make it happen.

If you want to set aside $500 a month for a new home, review last year's expenses and find places to cut. Can you dine out less often? Swap cable TV for Netflix? Cutting back on unnecessary "want to haves" will go a long way toward meeting your budget.

To stick to your budget all year long, consider getting budgeting assistance from free apps.

 

Review your life insurance

If you already have life insurance, review your policy to make sure you have the right coverage for your family. If you don't have life insurance, you may want to consider a term life insurance policy.

A term life insurance policy provides a guaranteed death benefit for up to 30 years. It's often the most affordable option; however, whole, permanent and universal life insurance policies have cash value components and other advantages. Speak to a financial representative to determine which policy best suits your needs.

If you already have life insurance, and your family has grown, you may be able to either amend your policy or purchase more coverage. Depending on the policy, you may be able to increase your coverage limit without underwriting or convert your policy to lifetime coverage.

 

Open an IRA

While you're reviewing your investment portfolio, take a look at your retirement contributions. If you're close to the contribution limits for your employer-sponsored 401(k) ($19,000 per year or $25,000 for age 50 and over), consider opening an IRA.

A Roth or Traditional IRA is an investment vehicle that allows you to save $6,000 or $7,000 (age 50 and up) per year. If your employer offers a company match, consider contributing up to the limit of your 401(k) first. If you have the resources to save more, then consider opening a Roth IRA. That way, you'll have a combination of tax-deferred and after-tax accounts to draw from when you retire.

 

Check your estate planning documents

While you're going over paperwork, review your estate planning documents. Make your will, trust and life insurance policy align with your current family and financial situation. An annual review of these documents will ensure that your family carries out your wishes if you pass on.

If you don't have a will or trust, consider consulting an estate planning attorney to create one. It's relatively easy to draft a will, and easy to change. Trusts offer more control over your assets and have some tax advantages.

Again, consult your tax and legal advisors to determine which document meets your needs.

 

What you can do next

Not sure what you need? Speak with a financial professional to get a game plan in motion.

 

Footnotes

Heather R. Johnson writes about finance, small business and healthcare from Oakland, California. Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, and with major banking and healthcare companies.

 

For Compliance Use Only:1019215-00001-00

If you secure tomorrow, you can enjoy today.

Help make sure your loved ones are protected if something happens to you, with Prudential Life Insurance.

Get a Free Quote

Web Content Viewer

Actions

Find What Interests You


Web Content Viewer

Actions

Web Content Viewer

Actions

Web Content Viewer

Actions