Thinking about your finances can be overwhelming if you don’t have some action items in mind. Here are three key things you can do to improve your finances this month. Even if you don’t get to all of them in the next 30 days, make it a goal to check them off the list ASAP. You’ll feel better once you’ve done them and your finances will be in a lot better shape.
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1. Consolidate your accounts.
Improving your finances may be as simple as putting everything in one place. Over the years, you’ve probably accumulated a fair amount of accounts. Savings, checking, investment, retirement, college savings and credit card accounts seem to pop up everywhere, and having them across different financial institutions can make it very difficult to have a good idea of what your finances look like. Start by getting as many accounts at the same place as possible. Roll over old 401ks into an IRA so your retirement is consolidated, and move all of your banking and credit to one bank to make transferring money between accounts easier. Not only will this reduce the amount of statements coming into your inbox each month, it should make tax time go a lot more smoothly.
You can also start managing your accounts in one place using an online bill and account organization service, such as Manilla.com. By monitoring all of your accounts in one dashboard with one-password access, you won’t have to go through the hassle of remembering multiple usernames and passwords, and you’ll have a better handle on your finances.
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2. Review your investments.
Once you have your accounts organized, you should take a careful look at any investments you have. Often, when your investments are scattered all over the place — taxable accounts, current 401ks, old 401ks, IRAs, etc. — it can be difficult to have a real handle on what your actual asset allocation is and what your investment picture really looks like. Avoid duplications, overlap and missing pieces by doing a deep dive on your newly streamlined accounts to make sure that they are in line with your goals.
Additionally, depending on what type of investing strategy you’ve decided upon, carefully analyze the fees you’re paying. Make sure you’re not paying for any services you don’t need and also compare all of your investment options to be certain that when choosing from similar funds, you’ve selected the ones with the lowest fees. Don’t hesitate to contact a financial adviser for help if necessary.
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3. Review your insurance.
A quick way to improve your finances is to reevaluate your insurance policies. Not having the right insurance can hurt you in one of two ways. If you are under-insured or wrongly insured, it can leave you woefully unprotected in the event of an accident or emergency situation. If you are over-insured or paying too much for the type of insurance you need, it means you are throwing money out the window each month. Educate yourself about your insurance needs, either by talking to a professional or better understanding how different policies work, and make sure you have just the right amount. For the policies you’re keeping, call around for quotes to see if you can save by switching providers or bundling insurance policies with one insurance company.