Mar 22, 2017

Tax Season: Time to Clean Up Your Finances

By Byron Ellis

It’s tax season and a great time of year to check up on your financial health. Each year many of us take some time to set resolutions as we approach the New Year for some this may have included financial aspirations. I like to call them goals; but frankly any time we can think about growth I think it is a good thing! Why not take the time to do a check up on your financial health even if they weren’t resolutions? Here are some great places to get started.

Check Your Credit Report

You are entitled to one free credit report every year under federal law. If you go to www.annualcreditreport.com you can get your report sent straight to you at no charge, which should be the first step of your financial checkup. Once you have your credit report you can examine your score, as well as your debts to see which debts you should put more effort into paying down this year.

Examine Your Insurance

Insurance is gambling against your own bad luck, because sooner or later you're going to need it. That doesn't mean you should be paying more than you have to for it, though. Whether it's your health insurance or your auto policy, your homeowner's or life insurance policy, this can be a good time to re-evaluate your standing. Maybe you can afford a higher deductible that comes with lower premiums? If you have traded automobiles or built an addition to your home, you may need to update your agent so they can note the change in your umbrella policy. Whatever changes you're going to make, the beginning of the year is an excellent time to make them.

Look at Where You Are, and Where You Are Going

It's easy to ignore your finances as long as they meet your short-term needs, but you really shouldn't. If you're going to be thinking about goals/growth then you should take a look at your retirement savings, and you should also take a close look at your financial goals and budgeting. You might decide that your savings isn't growing fast enough, so you decide to skip going out on Friday nights to save the money you'd otherwise be spending. Alternatively you might decide to open an IRA instead of just using a regular savings account to prepare for retirement. Now can be the perfect time to re-evaluate your financial destination, because if you don't know where you're going then you won't know how to get there.

Put Your Money to Work

If you have money sitting and waiting for your use then it might be a good time to come up with an investment strategy. If you have too much of your long-term portfolio in cash, consider developing a strategy to get it into more suitable investments. This can be a year for you to shed those unwanted pounds and improve your financial health. You and your finances will be happy!

*The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC.

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