It’s hard to believe, but 2019 is half over. Take a timeout from barbecues and mountain hikes to give yourself a mid-year financial checkup. Use the seven steps below to guide you.
Step 1: Revisit Your Budget
Take some time to review your monthly budget. Is it working for you or are you falling behind each month? After reviewing, adjust your budget as necessary.
Step 2: Review Your Tax Withholdings
Review your tax withholdings to see if they need any adjusting. Your goal here is to pay the perfect amount so you’re not hit with a huge tax bill at the end of the year, but you’re also not lending the government your money all year long.
Step 3: Check Your Credit Score
Visit AnnualCreditReport.com for your free credit report from any of the three major credit bureaus. If your score has gone up in the last six months, you’re doing great!
If your score has dropped, review your report in detail. Take the necessary steps to fix your score today, whether that means contesting any errors with the Federal Trade Commission, setting up an automatic payment on some of your bills or lowering your credit utilization rate by paying with plastic less often. Learn more about the five factors that determine your credit score.
Step 4: Tackle Your Debt
List every outstanding debt you carry, including credit card debt and all kinds of loans. Designate one debt to tackle first and work on a plan to pay it down. Once you’ve paid off this debt, move to the next one on your list. Check out our online Debt Calculators for more help.
Step 5: Anticipate Large Expenses
List any large expenses you anticipate in the next six months. This can include household appliances that may need replacing or an anticipated medical expense that’s not fully covered by insurance or any planned vacations.
Next, determine the spending category you will take the money from to cover these expenses. Deciding on a source for these funds now will help you avoid making the wrong choices when you’re under pressure in the future.
If you don’t have enough money set aside for these expenses, build a savings plan into your monthly budget so you have the funds available when you need them.
Step 6: Review Your Investments
Review and adjust all of your investments. This includes your retirement funds, any stock investments, bonds, trust funds or share certificates. Make sure you’re maximizing your contributions when possible and your other investments are performing according to plan. Adjust as necessary. If you need assistance, let us help you.
Step 7: Review Your Financial Resolutions and Long-term Goals
Review the financial resolutions and goals you dreamed up at the end of 2018 and then determine whether you are taking the steps necessary for making them happen. If you’ve been neglecting them, create a plan for working toward them for the rest of the year. Set yourself up for success with our free online personal financial management tool, My Financial Partner. You can set realistic goals and establish a budget.
Now you can kick back and enjoy the summer, guilt-free!