Regardless of wealth and spending habits, financial health is a common concern. In order to ensure that your finances are secure and your budget is effective, conducting a mid-year financial check-up is a wise move. There are several ways you can assess and amend your current financial status, and taking the steps to determine the areas in which you can most improve will prove to be beneficial in the long-term.
Adjust or Create Your Budget
Those without a strict budget may find themselves worrying more about their finances because they do not have a clear idea of how much they spend or how much they need in a given period of time. Even individuals with a budget in place can struggle if they do not regularly assess the effectiveness of their budget. A productive step to take when conducting a financial check-up is to evaluate or construct a budget.
Over time, certain costs can change, and in the case of major life changes, budgetary needs are bound to shift. Because of the likelihood of such changes, it is important to keep track of how much you spend on things like rent/mortgage, food, and other necessities so that you can account for any differences as they occur. Additionally, keeping an accurate, updated budget in place will help you allocate money to investments or other personal goals.
Review Your Investment Portfolio and Retirement Contributions
This step is especially important when considering your financial future. Once you’ve assessed your budget and made necessary adjustments, you should absolutely review your investments. Most investments are effective and profitable over a longer period of time, but that does not mean you should ignore your portfolio. Instead, you should regularly assess the diversification and health of your investment choices to ensure you are getting the most out of your chosen assets.
Additionally, once you have evaluated your budget, you should consider making higher contributions to your retirement fund. If your employee matches contributions, you should be contributing the maximum limit to make the most of this arrangement. Failing to meet the maximum contribution means you are missing out on free money that will benefit you in your retirement.
Assess Your Credit
It is undeniable that your credit score can greatly influence your lifestyle and financial health; a low score, after all, can limit your options and hinder your efforts to improve your life by purchasing a new car or moving into a better home. Taking a look at your credit report during your mid-year check-up can help you gain more insight into the factors that contribute to your credit score; in evaluating this report, you can determine which areas demand the most improvement. You can also reduce the negative impacts of fraud by regularly checking your credit report; identity theft can occur without you knowing, so being vigilant when it comes to your credit report can help you limit unauthorized purchases and prevent fraudulent accounts from being opened.
Ensure You Have the Right Insurance
Protecting your livelihood as well as your assets is important for securing your financial future. It is advised that you consult with a financial advisor to assess your current insurance policies and determine if you should subscribe to additional policies to best suit your needs. From disability insurance to updated homeowners insurance to account for renovations, you may not realize the benefits or necessity of possessing the right kind of insurance until it’s too late. Because of this, evaluating your coverage during your financial check-up can help you secure your finances. You should also ensure you maintain a healthy emergency fund; if possible, you should aim to save several months’ worth of living expenses to limit financial strain in the event of disaster or unexpected expenses.
Evaluate College Fund(s)
Parents looking to support their children with the cost of higher education should have a long-term savings plan in place. While it is most beneficial to start setting aside money as early as possible, contributions at any point will be helpful. Saving several hundreds of dollars each month from the time your child is born is recommended, but any amount saved from this point on will gain interest and grow in value until the time the child needs to use it. By evaluating your budget during this check-up, you can more accurately determine how much you are able to set aside for your future as well as the future of your child.
Alter Your Saving Habits
Even if you are not putting aside money for a child’s college tuition, saving some of your money each month is a healthy practice. Whether you want to contribute to your emergency fund, and IRA, or a general savings account, automating your savings is a productive way to eliminate the temptation of unnecessary spending and ensure your future is more financially secure. By automatically saving a portion of your paycheck each month, you can more effectively manage your budget.
Conducting a mid-year financial check-up is a great way to evaluate your spending habits, reduce unnecessary spending, and maximize your contributions to investments, emergency funds, college funds, or retirement accounts. Though it is feasible to conduct this check-up on your own, consulting a financial advisor can help ensure your assessment and consequent alterations are effective.