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Give your financial goals a check up

man in front of chalkboard

You should do a financial checkup at least once a year or with any major life events, such as marriage, divorce, children, job change, or starting a business. Here is a checklist of things you should review:

Monthly budget

Update where necessary. If you don’t have a budget, it will be kind of hard to do the next 4 items. There are tons of free budgeting tools – some are apps, some are downloadable Excel or Google worksheets. Here are a few:

Here are two budgeting apps that do not connect to your accounts

Here are two budgeting that securely connect to and aggregate your accounts

Financial goals

Do they need to change? Do you even have financial goals? Some worthwhile goals might be saving for a mortgage down payment if you have never purchased a home. If you have children, do you have a college savings plan? If you don’t have an emergency fund, that is a very important financial goal, as is funding your retirement account(s).

Retirement accounts

Speaking of retirement accounts, are they being adequately funded? There are abundant calculators on the internet that will tell you how well you are doing at your stage in life. If you are woefully short, that should become a priority financial goal (see #2).

Debts

Calculate your debt to income ratio. If all your monthly debt payments are more than 35% of your gross monthly income, you are beginning to tread risky waters. Begin considering some debt reduction strategies or consider consolidating your debt if it helps lower your monthly payment.

Insurance policies

Do any changes need to be made to them? Do you need to change your beneficiary designation? Are you eligible for discounts on your auto policy? Have you shopped around for auto insurance recently to make sure you’re getting a good rate?

Deposit accounts

Make sure you have designated beneficiaries, especially IRAs and other retirement accounts. But don’t overlook non-retirement accounts like checking and savings. If you were to pass tomorrow, who would you want your accounts to go to?

Your will and/or estate plan

And for goodness sake, if you don’t have a will, get one!  Make sure you have updated or modified it if your family has changed (marriage, divorce, death, children, etc.).

Financial files

Gather and organize your financial files, preferably in a digital format. Download the past year’s account statements, just in case you need them. If you have paper documents that are getting old, scan them and then shred the originals.

Just remember the old cliché “what gets measured gets done”. When you pay attention to goals, they have a much better chance of being reached.