Your financial life is ship-shape, ready to wrap up the year and head into the next?
You’re not alone.
According to the Pew Research Foundation, one in three American families have NO savings. This puts a serious strain on families’ futures, especially when financial emergencies strike.
The organization also notes that families don’t have as much discretionary spending as they used to. Even more troubling, household spending is up by 25 percent or more, yet salaries haven’t kept pace.
If you’re finding it hard to build up your savings, or your spending has gotten out of control, this fall is the perfect time to work on your financial life.
Do it now..before the shopping season takes hold of your budget.
1. Review your spending
If you’ve already got a budget, take a look at where you’re spending your money.
Does it align with your goals?
If your budget is in good shape, then move on to the next financial maintenance task.
If not, make the changes you need to get back on track.
Don’t have a budget?
Then make one. There are countless resources out there to help you put together a budget.
Keep in mind, however, that a budget isn’t set in stone. You’ll need to make adjustments as you go until it fits your situation.
For example, maybe you prefer eating out more often than you can currently afford. If that’s the case, a budget can help you see where you can adjust your other spending to accommodate what you want to do.
2. Create a mock tax bill
Do a test run of your tax bill to anticipate what you’ll pay – or get back – before the end of the year. This gives you a few months to make adjustments if needed.
3. Review your credit report
Grab your free annual credit report to correct any errors or missing information. You’ll also be able to spot signs of potential identity theft early, such as accounts you never opened.
4. Review your insurances
Insurance rates are always changing, so it’s possible that you could be paying too much.
You could also be over or under-insured. If your assets have increased in value or you’re paying for things you’ve sold, a change in your policy could save you money.
5. Prepare for health insurance open enrollment
Finally, no matter if you’re enrolling in Medicare, have insurance through your employer or buy insurance in the marketplace, now is the time of year you’ll be able to adjust your coverage choices.
If you’ve experienced life changes this year such as getting married or having a baby, you may need to make changes in your health insurance coverage.
Also, remember to review any balances you may have in your flexible spending account. If you have too much left think about reducing the amount you contribute next year.