Spring is officially here and now is the perfect time to discuss some smart financial moves you should consider as part of your spring cleaning this year. After all, we spend hours sprucing up and cleaning our homes to usher in the warmer weather, and our finances deserve the same care and attention.
Let’s make sure your financial foundation is strong enough to weather any storm.
It’s been three months since you set your goals (hopefully) and now is a good time to review your progress and make any necessary course corrections. Goals need to be something you genuinely want and are motivated to achieve, but they are not etched in stone. In our enthusiasm on January 1, we occasionally set too many goals or the wrong ones. This is your opportunity to refine them. Once you’ve recommitted to your goals, determine the actions steps you need to take in the next three months.
Now let’s take a look at your investments and see how they are performing. Are you still are track? Additionally, your asset allocation may have shifted overtime due to the overall stock market performance and may no longer be in alignment with your risk tolerance and/or timeframe. Rebalance, as needed.
Success Tip: Avoid emotional changes or knee-jerk reactions. You are looking at your investments at a moment in time. It may be on a good day or bad day. What matters is whether you are still on target to achieve your goals.
By now many of you have already filed your taxes or will be doing so imminently. Before you forget about them until next year, take a few minutes to review your 2013 return. Did you get a refund or write a check to Uncle Sam? I know many people look forward to a large refund, even though you are giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. However, it is your personal preference.
Instead, I want to focus on those who had to cut a check, specifically those of you who are self-employed (full or part-time). You may want to sit down with your accountant after tax season to better understand ways you can lower your tax burden, including.
Please note: Taxes are complicated and the rules change frequently. Make sure you seek guidance from a CPA or tax advisor regarding your individual situation.
Most parents want to send their kids to college and would like to help pay for at least part of their education. College is definitely an investment and like all investments, the earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. Keep in mind, however, that your child will have the ability to apply for student loans. A luxury you don’t have when it comes to your retirement. So as hard as it may be, make sure you have your financial future shored up before you pay for your children’s college.
When your child enters high school, be very clear with them how much you can help out and any expectations that come with your financial assistance, i.e. in-state public college versus out-of-state private college, etc. Too many times kids automatically assume their parents will foot the bill or they will have to take out big loans. They neglect to apply for scholarships and always accept the maximum amount of aid offered, whether or not they need it all. For more guidance, please check out my College Survival Series.
Many of us set-up automatic bill pay, which is great for helping us avoid any late fees. The downside is many people don’t pay much attention to their bills. We just pay them without noticing rate increases or assessing whether we truly need the service any longer. Now is a good time to review bills and request a lower rate or look for a more affordable rate and eliminate services and subscriptions we don’t need.
As you do your spring cleaning, don’t just toss things in the garbage. Many things can be donated or sold on Craigslist, e-Bay or at a garage sale. This can also be a great money earning opportunity for your kids. Once kids realize they can earn cold, hard cash for their old toys and clothes, they will eagerly clean their rooms and playrooms, looking for things to sell. Let them use their earnings towards their save, spend and share goals. If you do have a garage sale, considering having them sell bottled water, soda and/or some sort of baked goods, like cupcakes or cookies. Little kids are pretty irresistible. 🙂
How do you spring clean your finances?
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Life insurance is still on my to-do list...I need to block some time one of these days to just sit down and look into it.
We have another 4 weeks to file taxes. They are in the accountant's hands now and she better be good to us ;-)
I'm stopping by from the Every Woman Weekly Blog Party.
Love your blog and all the tips it has to offer. I have a 6 yr old daughter and while my husband and I do have money conversations with her, it's definitely not the extent that would get her on the path to a financially confident child.
Great blog post, I definitely have to review my goals and investments!!! Thanks for the reminder!
Have a great day!
Thanks for this reminder. I've been so caught up with putting up the winter clothes and cleaning out closets that I haven't thought about spring cleaning financially.
I'd say I'm at saving for college and we are definitely donating the clothes the kids don't wear any more.
We decided to save 90% of our tax return because we're planning on buying a new house next year. The 10% will be used to get replace mattresses, etc. and mama would like a new desk for the office :).
Appreciate you sharing it on the blog party too! Happy Tuesday :).
If you really want to push for a much lower rate, research other options with other vendors and then discuss with your vendor but be prepared to walk. The sweeter deals in customer loyalty won't be discussed until your saying you want to cancel your service but always have a BATNA (Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement) plan in place.