Don’t Forget to Do Your Financial Spring Cleaning

by Paige Estigarribia
Don't Forget Financial Spring Cleaning photo

A clean house is good, but clean finances are even better! Take these steps to clean up your finances.

When March and April roll around every year, spring cleaning jumps to the forefront of everyone’s minds (and homes!) and with good reason. Spring is an optimal time to clear out the dust and clutter that has accumulated during your hibernation inside all winter, but spring could also be an excellent time to focus on reviewing and decluttering your financial life.

Here’s a list of seven areas you may have in your financial house perfect for a spring dust-off:

1. Your Mortgage

A mortgage for many people is the largest (and the longest term) debt they have. Despite the length of this debt in your life, there are options for reducing your payment. Take a look at the current interest rates, because spring could be a good time for refinancing to a lower rate if one is available.

If you have a $200k 30-year mortgage, a 1% lower rate could save you $35,000 over the life of the mortgage or about $120 a month in lower mortgage payments! You can compare rates yourself with this tool. You’ll be asked for some basic information. Then you’ll see different lenders and their rates. If you find a rate lower than your rate, let them know that you’re interested in a refi.

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2. Your Insurance Policies

Spring is a wonderful time to take inventory of the insurance policies that you currently have and what the benefits are. Is it time for additional life insurance? Is it time to consider long-term care insurance? Make a list of the policies that you currently have and review the benefits in those policies.

And don’t forget to review your homeowner’s insurance policies and your automobile policy. As you review, be sure that the benefits are still what you need, and if not, research making a change to a policy with a better fit. (See also: Is Raising Your Insurance Deductible a Good Idea?.)

Compare your homeowners policy. And don’t forget to compare auto insurance rates.

3. Your Credit Cards

Take out your recent credit card statements and review balances and interest rates. If you’ve got a balance on your card, spring could be the perfect time to make a plan and pay it off.

And spring could also be a good time to compare credit cards for lower interest rates or better benefits. If you find one that fits better with your needs, you can make the change.

4. Your Credit Report

You can obtain a free credit report every year, so spring could be an optimal time to take a look at your credit.

Double check that there isn’t any unidentified information or accounts on your credit report, and review it carefully to be sure you are familiar with (and know about) the accounts that are listed. If you find incorrect, erroneous, or unfamiliar information, you’ll promptly want to take the next steps to correct your report.

You can find out now how to get your credit report.

5. Your Social Security Report

Spring is also a great time to review your social security information, so that you are aware of what you’ve earned. You’ll want to keep up with your social security especially if you are the process of planning for retirement.

You can access your Social Security report here.

6. Your Major Assets

You may also want to review a list of your major assets in case of any future, potential insurance claims. If you haven’t made a list like this, take a moment to inventory the major assets you currently have. You might even consider taking photographs too. In case you have a potential insurance loss or damage claim in the future, your list and photos could be helpful in sorting through the insurance process.

7. Your Savings Accounts

Your savings should be earning you interest. It’s easier than ever to compare rates and switch banks if necessary. You can compare savings rates here.

Hopefully one of your savings accounts is for an emergency fund, but if you have not yet started one, this is a good time to do so. See Finding Money for Emergency Savings if you’re having trouble funding your account.

Build an Emergency Fund

With these simple tools, you could save $1000, even while living paycheck to paycheck.

And that’s it! During spring, most everyone is already looking at their finances for taxes. Why not tackle this list at the same time and give yourself a financial spring cleaning as well?

Reviewed March 2021

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