Ah, Spring- the season of renewal. Spring means longer and brighter days, and the urge to get the house in order. That goes for your financial house, as well.
If you haven’t done so already, spring is a good time to go through your personal finances and thoroughly review your budget, credit cards, investments and insurance. Here are a couple of tips to get you started.
Reassess your household budget
Take stock of your budget, including any major changes in income or spending. Did you or a family member receive a raise, lose a job, take some unpaid leave, go on a vacation or adopt a pet? These and other changes should help to determine how you allocate your money and make adjustments. Need a little help budgeting? No problem! Check out Sandia Area’s new Budgeting and Savings tools within Online and Mobile Banking. You’ll be able to set up budgets, set savings goals, and know where you stand financially from one single site.
Similarly, if you know a major expense is approaching — such as a child starting college, a pending medical procedure or home repairs — you can cut spending now in order to boost your financial cushion.
Get a grip on credit
Financially speaking, there is perhaps nothing more important than your credit score. This is a measure of how trustworthy you are as a borrower, and it affects your ability to borrow and receive low interest rates on credit cards and loans. Resolve to improve your credit habits and bolster your score: Pay your bills on time, do not take on too much new debt and create a plan for settling outstanding balances.
Even if you have good credit, you should regularly re-evaluate your credit situation. Review your interest payments and consider transferring your balance to a card or a personal loan with a lower rate. If you took out a mortgage or auto loan a while back with another lender, you may want to consider refinancing with Sandia Area- while rates are still low!
Everyone can monitor his or her credit easily. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once a year. These reports reflect your borrowing and payment history and help determine your credit score. Occasionally, they contain mistakes that could lower your score when removed. So keep an eye out for errors, and ask the bureau to correct any you find. Get your free credit score here.
Rebalance your investment portfolio
When you set up your retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), you likely selected investments based how much growth you wanted to achieve — and how much risk you were willing to accept.
As you near retirement, you may want to take on less risk — or you may find that your proportion of stocks and bonds has drifted from your target. That is why it is a good idea to revisit, and perhaps rebalance, your portfolio each year. You may want to move financial gains from your “winnings” and reinvest the profits elsewhere.
Working with a Financial Advisor you trust and who understands your specific needs is important, and Sandia Area Investment Services is here to help you. Schedule your complimentary consultation today!
Check your insurance polices
It is worth asking your carrier or agent if you are eligible for discounts. For example, if you have been accident- and ticket-free for several years, you might qualify for a good driver discount. Good student and multi-policy package discounts are also common. If you have been with the same company for a while, you may want to ask your agent to shop around for quotes for comparable coverage; or comparison shop for yourself online.
We’ve partnered with TruStage Insurance Agency to make available life, auto and homeowners insurance to members through leading insurance carriers. This is just one of the many benefits we offer to our members!
Organize your important records
Spring cleaning usually means throwing things away, but you should retain copies of important financial statements. Check out our article- To Shred or Not to Shred? Knowing what to keep and what to discard will save you a pile of trouble later. Going paperless? It does not take long to download and copy records to your computer.
Just as preparing the soil in spring helps produce a healthy crop, tending to your financial field can set you up for financial success. There is no better time to begin than now.
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