Time for financial spring cleaningYou may or may not engage in spring cleaning, but you can almost certainly benefit from sprucing up your financial situation.
By: John Kern, Financial columnist, The Republican Eagle
You may or may not engage in spring cleaning, but you can almost certainly benefit from sprucing up your financial situation.
What areas might you want to tidy up? Here are a few suggestions:
• Clear your portfolio of redundant investments. Over time, you may have built a sizable investment portfolio. But if you have too many investments that look alike, you may actually be hindering your progress toward your goals. Look for opportunities to replace some of these redundancies with different types of securities.
• Organize your financial records. If you’re like those of us who file our taxes at the last minute, now is the perfect time to organize your records, because you’ve probably got them close at hand. And it’s not just a matter of having your brokerage and 401(k) statements in neat piles. Once you’ve got these documents together, you might see opportunities to consolidate your accounts.
For example, you may have IRAs with different banks and financial services companies, By moving them all to one provider, and possibly rolling over an old 401(k) into an IRA, you could save some fees and reduce your paperwork, but, more importantly, you may find that such a move actually helps you better manage your investments. You’ll know exactly what you’re invested in, and it will be easier to follow a single investment strategy.
• Review your systematic investments. Many years ago, you might have started systematically moving money from your checking account into an investment. But perhaps the circumstances of your life have changed and this money could better be used elsewhere. Scrutinize your automatic investments to see if they still make sense.
• Check your beneficiaries. Beneficiary designations on insurance policies, IRAs, 401(k)s, etc., are extremely important, because they supersede even the instructions in your will. Over time, your family situation may have changed, through death, divorce, remarriage or the birth of new children, so you should periodically review your beneficiary designations.
• Examine your insurance coverage. When you have a young family, you need a certain amount of life insurance coverage to provide for some major expenses. But when your children have grown, your mortgage is paid and your spouse has retirement savings, your insurance needs may change considerably. At the same time, you may find other uses for insurance. Take some time and review your coverage with your financial adviser.
By following these suggestions, you can help put your financial house in order for the seasons to follow.