If you are planning an annual spring cleaning, here are ways to spruce up your financial life, save some money, and tidy up your documentation.
It’s amazing how much the physical act of decluttering can also help with clearing your mind. If you’re anything like me, your mind is running about a thousand miles an hour due to the current state of the world.
I’m an amateur personal finance geek.
Your tools have helped me become a smarter investor.
Personal Capital Dashboard User, February 2021
Try taking a break from staying up-to-date with the news and get up-to-date with your finances instead. You’ll not only feel more controlled in a very uncertain season, but you can rest easier at night knowing that you’re one step closer to organizing your finances.
Before getting started, be sure to sign up for Personal Capital’s free financial tools to get a look at all of your money accounts in one secure place. This is a great first step to start your financial spring cleaning on the right foot.
1. Make or Update Your Will
Having a will and keeping it updated is important, and now is as good of a time as ever to put one together. By having a will, you are taking power away from the state’s law so they no longer have a say in who gets what after you are no longer around.
>>Read More: 9 Steps on How to Create a Will
Essentially, it’s all about securing the best future you can for the people you love the most.
Wills become the most necessary after reaching certain milestones like getting married, having kids or acquiring money or property assets. One of the most essential things a will gives you is the ability to decide who becomes the owner of any property you may possess or who will become the guardian of your children.
Use this time of “spring cleaning” to either update your will or get started on one.
You can check out Personal Capital’s Guide to Legacy and Estate Planning for insight and tips.
2. Check Up on Your Insurance
Do you regularly review your insurance? Now is a great time to start.
Begin by taking time to look over all your insurance policies. Here’s a list of some you might be the most familiar with:
Have you recently had any major life events, like a marriage, divorce, or birth? If so, you may need to make some changes to this policy to make sure you are adequately covered.
- Car insurance
Again, scan your current season of life and make sure that you are adequately being covered for your situation. Review the policies and make sure you have all the current copies you need stowed in your car before you hit the road.
- Home insurance
A great way to make sure you are up-to-date with your home/rental insurance is to document your most expensive or prized possessions to make sure you are accurately covered. Also, confirm that you are covered for any natural disasters that may be more common for your location.
Here are a few additional types of insurances that you may have. Again, take time to look them over to make sure your information is up-to-date and you are sufficiently covered.
- Dental insurance
- Pet insurance
- Disability insurance
It’s not the most exhilarating spring-cleaning project, but grab your favorite coffee drink, jam out to your favorite playlist, and you’ll be movin’ and groovin’ in no time.
3. Negotiate Your Bills
You might be reading this one and thinking, “Tori, I don’t know the first thing about negotiating.” That’s okay. Negotiating is like a muscle you learn to build over time, and there is no better way to practice than with asking to lower your recurring bills.
I do this about two times a year by chatting with a customer service representative (which I secretly LOVE doing— just call it my mini obsession).
What are some recurring bills you didn’t know you could negotiate?
- Credit card interest rate
- Insurance (especially car, rental, and home insurance!)
- Getting charged for a subscription you forgot to cancel
- A payment plan or payment delay for your bills (make sure to mention the coronavirus as an impact on your income)
>>Read More: 6 Steps to Negotiate Lowering Your Monthly Bills
4. Finally open that savings account
Why is opening a savings account or cash account like Personal Capital Cash so important? A few reasons:
- Opening a savings account is the gateway to building your emergency fund, which, *wink wink*, should be #1 on your financial priority list. It should consist of 3-6 months’ living expenses. Start with an amount you feel comfortable depositing and then grow it from there. And remember — this money is ONLY for emergencies (and not the pair of shoes that just went on sale).
- You’re making your money work for you instead of the other way around. This type of account literally pays you to use it. Every month, you’ll receive free money. Pretty cool, right?
- Make sure you open an account that has very few or no fees and withdrawal limits that can impede your ability to tap into your cash savings.
5. Shred old documents
If I know anything, it’s that you probably have a file cabinet or some sort of document storage that sits looming in the back of your mind, needing desperately to be addressed.
Try to factor some good ol’ document shredding into your financial spring cleaning routine. Not only is shredding paper super satisfying (tell me I’m not the only one who thinks so), but it will lift a weight off your chest knowing that you’re keeping documents such as records, applications, bills, and other resources organized and at a minimum.
Trust me, these documents will pile up fast, so it’s great to give them a look-through at least twice a year if not every month.
Don’t worry, all this spring cleaning doesn’t have to be tackled in one day. Pick one item from the list and focus on it for a week before moving on. Then, in a month, you can look back at all the progress you’ve made. I have a feeling you’ll be astounded.
Personal Capital compensates Tori Dunlap (“Author”) for providing the content contained in this blog post. Additionally, in a separate referral arrangement between Author and Personal Capital Corporation (“PCC”), Author is paid $70 and $150 for each person who uses Author’s webpage (www.HerFirst100k.com) to register with Personal Capital and links at least $100,000 in investable assets to Personal Capital’s Free Financial Dashboard. As a result of these arrangements, Author may financially benefit from referring potential clients to Personal Capital and/or be incentivized to present blog content that is favorable to PCC. No fees or other amounts will be charged to investors by Author or Personal Capital as a result of the Referral Arrangement. Investors that are referred to PCC and subsequently subscribe for investment advisory services provided by PCC’s affiliated adviser, Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”) will not pay increased management fees or other similar compensation to Author, PCC or PCAC as a result of this arrangement. Additional information about PCAC is contained in Form ADV Part 2A available here.