Spring Clean Your Finances: 11 Money Moves You Can’t Afford to Miss

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Spring is in the air, and it’s not just your closet that needs decluttering. It’s time to spruce up your finances. We’ll walk you through 12 essential financial moves you should make right now to set yourself up for success. Even Forbes says that a financial education is more important than ever!  Let’s dive in cleaning up your finances!

Before you start any financial journey, take our quick and easy quiz and financial tool to gain valuable insights into the health of your finances. Simply answer a few questions about your income, expenses, mortgage, and other debts, and you’ll receive a private, in-depth report tailored to your unique financial situation. Our financial app calculator makes it simple to assess your financial health and identify areas for improvement. Plus, with our easy-to-understand results, you’ll gain clarity and confidence in your financial decisions. Don’t wait any longer – take the quiz today and start your journey toward financial success by starting with these tips.

 

Revisit Your Resolutions. If you set financial resolutions at the beginning of the year, now is the perfect time to check in on your progress. Are you on track to meet your goals, or do you need to hit the reset button? Don’t let past setbacks hold you back – spring is a time for renewal and a fresh start!

 

Falling off track with your financial resolutions could mean delaying your financial goals and missing out on potential savings opportunities.

 

Meet Emily, a millennial who resolved to pay off her credit card debt this year. By spring, she realized she hadn’t made much progress. Instead of dwelling on her setbacks, Emily hit the reset button, recommitting herself to her goal and creating a new plan to tackle her debt.  Want some testimonials about what success looks like? Click here.

 

Clean Your Financial ‘Junk Drawer’. We all have that one drawer (or corner of the table) where we stash financial paperwork to deal with later. Take some time this spring to sort through those neglected papers. Toss what you don’t need, file away the important stuff, and tackle any outstanding financial tasks.

 

Neglecting your financial paperwork can lead to missed deadlines, overlooked bills, and unnecessary stress.

 

That was true for Mark, a Gen Xer who finally took the plunge and cleaned out his financial ‘junk drawer.’ As he sorted through the pile, he found forgotten receipts and unpaid bills. By taking action, Mark was able to ease his financial stress and regain control of his finances.  Learn even more valuable lessons at the free 101 financial workshops.  They’re worth it!

 

Start a 2024 Tax Folder. Don’t wait until next tax season to organize your tax documents. Create a dedicated folder for 2024 tax-related paperwork, including receipts, donation forms, and any other documents you’ll need for filing your taxes next year.

 

Without proper organization, you could miss out on valuable deductions or face penalties for late or incomplete tax filings.

 

Jordan, a Gen Zer who decided to get ahead of the game by setting up a tax folder for 2024. By staying organized throughout the year, Jordan avoided the last-minute scramble come tax season and ensured a smooth filing process.

 

Don’t forget to read our post about the new 2023 requirements for reporting money transfers on money apps.  Don’t get flagged by the IRS!

 

Watch Your Withholding. Take a closer look at your W-4 form and ensure you’re withholding the right amount from your paycheck. Adjust your withholding as needed to avoid owing taxes or receiving a large refund next year.

 

Incorrect withholding can result in unexpected tax bills or missed opportunities for tax savings. Take a look at your last few tax returns. Study the pattern. Are your earnings trending up, or down? Then, consult a tax professional.

 

Sarah, a millennial who realized she was over withholding from her paycheck, resulting in a smaller paycheck each month. By adjusting her withholding, Sarah was able to keep more of her hard-earned money throughout the year, rather than waiting for a refund at tax time.

 

Max out your retirement plan. You can contribute to an IRA up to April 15 and have the money count toward your 2023 savings. The contribution limit for 2023 is $6,500 if you’re under 50, $7,500 if you’re older. Even better, get an early start on contributing to your IRA for 2024. The longer the money sits in your retirement account, the longer it can accrue interest. There is a 15-month window to make IRA contributions for any given year. Spring is also a good time to challenge yourself to contribute to a workplace 401(k). Not saving for retirement? Now is a good time to start. Even if you can only save a little right now, getting started is very important, because you want to give your retirement savings time to grow. Ideally, you’ll be contributing enough to at least maximize what your employer will match. And if you’re not there yet, look for opportunities to increase your contributions over time.

 

Not saving for the future is just not good personal finance.

 

Name your beneficiaries. Most retirement plans and life insurance policies include beneficiaries: The folks who get the money if you die. Many of us procrastinate in naming them. In the spirit of spring cleaning, why not name them now?

 

Dust off your estate plan. Speaking of beneficiaries: Anyone with an estate plan should review it every year, or at least any year when a major life event plays out, like a job change, marriage, divorce or arrival of a new child, experts advise. “An estate plan isn’t something you can set and forget,” Ryan said. Consider whether you need to update any part of the plan, including your beneficiaries

 

Book your 2025 vacation in 2024. Setting up vacation plans a year early saves money and gives you more choice of flights and lodgings, experts say. And then there’s the psychological value. Studies have shown the anticipation of a vacation is half the psychic value you get out of it. So, enjoy this summer’s family vacation, but put next year’s on the calendar, as well

 

Review your investment portfolio. You don’t need to monitor your portfolio on a daily basis. Spring is an ideal time to review your asset allocation and make sure it suits your needs. Your mix of stocks, bonds and other investments can drift over time, and your portfolio objectives change.

 

Invest in high-yield savings.   Yields on savings accounts, certificates of deposit, money market accounts and other savings vehicles have been up for the last year or two, along with interest rates generally. Yet, many people are still holding large cash balances in suboptimal, low-yielding vehicles. Your savings isn’t earning top annual interest, or close to it, consider transferring the balance into a high-yield account. Check out our easy to use compound interest calculator to see how your money grows!

 

Check your credit card (s).   Credit card debt is rising, along with credit card interest rates. Now is a good time to take a good look at your card, especially if you carry a balance from month to month, Palmer said. The key question: “Are you paying more interest than you realize?”

 

Remember, you don’t have to tackle your financial spring cleaning alone. Working with a knowledgeable and experienced 101 Financial instructor can provide invaluable guidance, support, and accountability as you navigate your financial journey. Our instructors are equipped with the expertise and resources to help you make informed decisions, overcome obstacles, and achieve your financial goals with confidence. Whether you’re looking to pay off debt, save for the future, or plan for retirement, partnering with a 101 Financial instructor can make all the difference. Together, you’ll create a customized roadmap for success and embark on a transformative journey toward financial well-being.

 

Spring is the perfect time to breathe new life into your finances and set yourself up for success. By taking proactive steps to revisit your goals, declutter your financial life, and make strategic moves, you can pave the way for a brighter financial future. Remember, every action you take today sets the stage for tomorrow, so seize the opportunity to spring clean your finances and watch as your financial well-being blossoms. With the right tools, resources, and mindset, you can achieve your financial dreams and enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’re on the path to financial freedom. Here’s to a season of growth, renewal, and financial prosperity!

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