Five ideas for spring cleaning your finances

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Doing a financial “spring cleaning” is very similar to the domestic spring cleaning we’re all so accustomed to.

It’s not particularly fun. But as those fresh, fragrant spring breezes seem to urge us to toss open the windows and de-clutter, the finality of your financial 2017 on Tax Day spurs us to be better prepared for our next round with the tax advisor.

Here are a few things to consider in the waning days of the school year, before the children are let loose to take over your home this summer.

1: Do your annual credit report check

You’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three national credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. A quick glance will tell you your score. With a quick scan of the report, you should be able to identify any fishy or unfamiliar transactions. With personal privacy becoming a memory, pulling your annual free credit reports is a wise financial task you should do every year.

2: Create a list of not so fun financial things to do

When we complained about spring cleaning as kids, mom would tell us to do the hard work first so we can enjoy the sun later! Do your “hard” work of checking off tedious tasks of fiduciary fundamentals, such as filing those tax papers you just submitted, reviewing your beneficiaries, scheduling an annual review with your insurance professional, setting savings goals, start an estate plan, or review your retirement plan.  And, don’t forget to check off the next three items below.

3: Do a cash flow audit

Depending on your age, you’ll either know this as “balancing your checkbook” or “that thing mom and dad used to do at the kitchen table every month.” What it really means is going through your bank statements, determining how much you take in, what you spend each month, and where you might be able to cut back. The end goal of the audit is to get a clear picture on where your money goes.

4: Consider your Life Insurance situation

Have you had any major life changes this year, or do you expect any? These include having a child, a change in marital status, made a major purchase such as a home, a job change, a death in the family, or moving. If you’ve experienced any of these events, your needs have changed. Contact a life insurance professional and have a quick chat. You may find it worth your while to increase or decrease your coverage.

5. Think about personal and family health

This one is age dependent too, but just because you’re in the prime of life doesn’t mean your loved ones are. Talk to your insurance professional about Long Term Care and Medicare Supplement insurance.* You’re in for a delightful surprise if you’re already a Catholic United member because many of our policies have an Accelerated Benefit Rider, which would pay a portion of the death benefit under certain conditions while you’re still alive.

Catholic United now offers Medicare Supplement plans. Regardless of who you insure with, medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in America today, affecting 2 to 4 million people per year. If not for you, talk to your parents about it. Good health won’t last forever. Don’t get stuck holding the bag when the hospital bill comes due.

Once the busyness of summer starts, you might not have the time to address your financial needs between trips to the lake, graduation parties and sporting events with the kids and grandkids. Take the time now to get your financial year under control so you can get out and enjoy the sun!

*Neither Catholic United Financial nor its standard Medicare Supplement insurance policy are connected with or endorsed by the US government or the federal Medicare program. Plan options vary depending on where you live. This is not a solicitation of insurance.