Spring weather is finally here! Thanks to newfound energy from the warmth of the sun, it’s the perfect time of year to start straightening up. Don’t forget to spend some time getting your finances and paperwork in order! Here are ten tips on how to tidy up your finances.
- Since spring cleaning comes on the heels of tax season, this is a great place to start. Once you’ve filed, gather up all of your 2017 tax paperwork and store it. While you don’t plan to need it again, you’ll be glad it’s handy and together in case of an audit.
- You can get a head start on next year’s taxes too. Make a checklist of the paperwork from this year in anticipation of next year’s filing. You can keep this in the front of a folder and make note as your receipts, slips, and other papers come in.
- Your important paperwork should also get some attention. Property papers and personal identification (like birth certificates and passports) should be kept together so nothing goes missing. Make a list of important contacts, like doctors, lawyers, insurance brokers, or investment counsellors. In case of emergency, you’ll want to have current contact information stored in a safe, secure place.
- Bills come regularly but are easy to forget about by the time they come due! A schedule will keep you on track by making note of due dates, amounts, and any other action required.
Spring gives us a new perspective on life, inspiring us to make changes. Spend any time outdoors, and you’ll see the promise of growth in gardens and on the trees. So why not look ahead to the financial future?
- Reducing your debt overall is key. Consolidate your loans and pay off bills to reduce that load. If you make mortgage payments monthly, change the frequency to bi-weekly. This adds one extra payment per year and allows you to pay your mortgage off early.
- You can also plan for your family’s future. Whether it’s an individual or a family plan, RESPs are a sure way to help your children prepare for the costs of schooling.
- Don’t forget about your tax free savings account! This account can be an important part of your financial future as the benefits of compounding tax free growth over decades are enormous.
Review, Review, Review
- This is a great time to go through your budget to be sure it is still accurate. Certain expenses might be seasonal, or you may have an influx of income that needs to be invested. It’s important to check on this regularly to stay up to date.
- Review your insurance policies too to ensure you have sufficient coverage. Often, these aren’t looked at until a new car or home demands a change in your policy. A periodic update of quotes will reassure you that you are covered and that you are receiving the best possible rates.
- Plan for a scan of your retirement plan in view of your overall financial goals. Assess performance returns and make note of upcoming maturities of term deposits (GICs) and the like. You should also make note of your beneficiaries and ensure this information is kept up to date. Review your goals to make sure you are still on track to reach your retirement dreams. If not, it’s time to make an appointment with an investment counsellor and change where you invest your money.