You’re slogging through paperwork, gathering and organizing information to prepare your tax return. Take heart – you can make your hard work do double duty by using those same records to improve your financial well-being. Here are suggestions to get you started.
- Write down your financial goals. How much money will you need to meet each goal? When will you need the money, and how will you get it?
- Prepare a net worth statement. Make a list of your assets and debts and compare the balances to last year. Are you gaining or losing ground?
- Protect what you have. Use your net worth statement to complete your annual insurance coverage review. Do you have adequate disability insurance to replace take-home pay if you become incapacitated? Do you have enough life insurance if you or your spouse should die? Do you have replacement value property insurance on your home? What about adequate insurance for calamities such as automobile accidents or lawsuits?
An annual review is also useful for verifying that you actually need all of the insurance you have. Make sure you’re not duplicating employer-provided coverage or paying for insurance benefits that are no longer of value.
- Update your will and your estate plan. Changes in your personal situation, such as marriage, divorce, births, deaths, or a move to another state, can affect your beneficiary designations, guardian choices, and asset titling.
- Review your credit. Monitor your accounts by requesting an annual free statement from the three main credit bureaus. Scrutinize how much debt you’re carrying from month to month. Is it time to cut back to get your debt under control? Are you incurring late fees because you’re missing payment dates?
These actions can bring an improvement to your financial well-being and peace of mind.