As we move closer to tax deadline (April 18th this year) spend a few extra minutes cleaning up your finances. Since you’re already gathering all your financial paperwork, take time to do the following tasks.
1- Simplify your life by consolidating bank accounts. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) covers deposit accounts at insured banks and financial institutions for up to $250,000. Click here to learn more about this coverage. If you have less than that amount, then use one bank for your financial needs.
2-Adjust your paycheck withholding if you’re receiving a tax refund. With this adjustment, you’ll receive more money upfront instead of waiting every year for a refund.
3- Discuss tax efficient strategies with your financial advisor if you’re paying more taxes than you did in the past. Also, consult with your CPA or Enrolled Agent (EA) for additional ideas.
4- Evaluate all recurring charges on your credit card and PayPal accounts. Some products and services you purchase are set up on automatic payments. These recurring charges can be a waste of money if you are not using those products or services. When reviewing these subscription offers, be honest with yourself if you truly need these products and services. You may decide you would be better off using that money to build your savings.
5- Update how much you need in your emergency reserve. It should cover your expenses for at least 9 months if you’re a dual income family or 12 months if you’re a single income family. Historically, it’s been recommended for an emergency reserve to cover at least 3- to 6-months of expenses – but realistically, how long would it take you to find another job if you were let go from your current employer? It’s better to be conservative and save to cover your expenses if that situation or another unexpected situation arises.
6- Identify one expense you want to reduce. When reviewing your spending, you may have realized you spend a lot of money in a certain area. Instead of spending money in that area, you could spend less and shift that money to savings. Look at how much you spend on dining out, pets, personal care, and entertainment.
7- Review your contribution to your employer sponsored retirement savings plan. Maximize what you contribute and make sure you take advantage of any match your employer offers.
It’s easy to procrastinate when it comes to cleaning up your finances. But since you’re already gathering your financial documents, commit to the above listed tasks.
*Originally published here.
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC in Atlanta, GA. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work.
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