Fall Cleaning for Your Finances
It’s hard to believe that Fall is just around the corner with the record high temperatures we had last week! We’ve all heard of spring cleaning, but what about fall cleaning for your finances? Just as we embark on the tradition of cleaning and decluttering our homes, now is a perfect time to apply the same principles to our financial lives. Fall cleaning for your finances is about taking stock of where you stand, making necessary adjustments, and setting yourself up for a strong financial future.
- Decluttering Your Investments:
- Assess Your Asset Allocation: Ensure your investments align with your financial goals and risk tolerance. Kira wrote a great blog on updating your risk tolerance last month (and hint: it *might* be something your advisor brings up in your year end meeting)
- Consolidate Accounts: If you have multiple brokerage or retirement accounts, consider consolidating them for simplicity and a clearer view of your overall financial picture.
- Reassessing Insurance Coverage:
Fall is a good time to review your insurance coverage to ensure you have adequate protection.
- Health Insurance: Evaluate your health insurance plan, especially if it’s employer-provided and you have the option to make changes during open enrollment. Do you have an HSA or FSA option through work?
- Life Insurance: Review your life insurance policies to ensure your coverage aligns with your current financial responsibilities, such as supporting dependents or paying off debts such as your mortgage. Employer coverage is often the least expensive option, but if you’ve maxed it out, we suggest looking into a term policy.
- Home and Auto: Check your policies for any gaps in coverage or opportunities to bundle policies for potential discounts.
- Umbrella: Often overlooked, but a relatively inexpensive way to protect your family beyond your home and auto policies. Be sure to ask your insurance provider about adding an umbrella policy if you don’t already have one.
- Reviewing Estate Plans:
Estate planning is a critical part of financial housekeeping and not just for the uber-wealthy. We recommend some form of estate planning to all of our clients and it might not be as expensive as you think.
- Wills and Trusts: Ensure your will and any trusts accurately reflect your wishes and financial situation. Update beneficiaries as needed.
- Power of Attorney: Review and update your power of attorney documents, designating someone you trust to make financial decisions on your behalf if necessary.
- Healthcare Directives: Confirm that your healthcare directives, such as living wills and medical powers of attorney, are up-to-date and accurately represent your preferences.
- Checking Your Credit Report:
Regularly monitoring your credit report is a vital part of financial cleaning. Request a free copy of your credit report and review it for inaccuracies or signs of identity theft. Correct any errors promptly to maintain a healthy credit profile.
- Budgeting and Goal Setting:
Fall is an ideal time to revisit your budget and financial goals:
- Review Your Budget: Assess your spending habits and make necessary adjustments to stay on track with your financial goals. We love Mint or You Need A Budget for helping you and your family create a realistic budget and cash flow.
- Set New Goals: Consider setting new financial goals for the upcoming year. Whether it’s saving for a major purchase, boosting retirement contributions, or paying down debt, having clear objectives will help guide your financial decisions.
Fall cleaning for your finances is an essential part of maintaining your financial health. Use this season as an opportunity to start fresh and ensure that your financial house is in order for the busy months ahead.
We hope to see you this Thursday for our annual Thank Y’all Fall Client Appreciation event at Great Meadow – celebrating 8 years of Meridian helping clients – time sure does fly by!