Annual Financial Wellness Checkup Checklist
Consumer prices are still up due to inflation, so now is a good time to check in on your finances and ready them for the rest of the year.
#1 Review your credit report
Checking your credit reports is always a good idea. Studies show that consumer credit reports often contain errors that can damage their credit score. Start by getting free copies of the 3 big credit companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and read through each report carefully. If you find any mistakes on your reports, you should dispute them immediately.
#2 Check your credit card balances
The holiday shopping season is the most expensive time of year for most Americans. The average person spends almost $1,000 and much of that expense ends up on credit cards. Review your balances, as well as your interest rates. If you are carrying balances across multiple cards, plan to reduce your debt as much as possible now.
#3 Refresh your budget
As you look at your budget numbers, consider the following: Are there any expenses you can cut or cut back on so you can free up more money for spending? Are there things you’re paying for that you don’t use, such as subscription services that you’ve already binged your way through? Are you able to dedicate money to saving consistently, so you can continue building your emergency fund?
#4 Get a handle on housing costs
Homeowners are dealing with an unheard-of increase in property tax and insurance rates and renters often struggle to meet their monthly payments. The government has introduced several programs, such as the Homeowners Assistance Fund, to help people get back on their feet and help to catch up with past due payments. The best way to get informed is to talk to a HUD-certified housing counselor to receive housing stability counseling.
Purchasing a home is one of the most exciting financial milestones most people achieve in life. But, it can also be one of the most challenging. Taking part in a first-time homebuyer’s program is a highly effective and inexpensive way to get the proper education you need. Speak with a HUD-certified counselor AND a mortgage loan officer before you begin your search for a new home. The Mortgage Team at Alabama ONE can help!
#5 Check in on your retirement savings
The stock market volatility caused by inflation meant a lot of people’s retirement savings took a hit. You may have taken funds out of retirement savings to get through the challenges of this year. If so, you want to set a plan to pay those funds back into your retirement accounts as soon as possible. Even if you didn’t withdraw any of your retirement funds, check in on your balances to see if you’re on track. If you haven’t used your free consultation with your plan advisor yet this year, schedule an appointment to meet with them. That way, you can talk about a strategy for allocating your funds the right way for 2023.
Alabama ONE has a wealth advisory team that can help you plan for your future.
#6 See where you stand on your financial goals
The economic uncertainty over the last year may have gotten you off track, but there’s still time to catch up. Look back at what you had planned for your finances last year. If you haven’t made progress, now is the time to recommit to what you wanted to achieve. If you didn’t have any financial goals set for last year, then get started now. Do you want to buy a house or a car this year? Then it’s time to start saving. If you want to improve your credit, download a free credit monitoring app and start tracking your score.
#7 Make sure your family and your assets are protected
Insurance is more crucial now than it’s ever been. You need to make sure you have adequate health insurance in case something happens. You also need to make sure you have adequate life insurance. Review your policies to see what’s covered and what’s not.
The Alabama ONE Insurance Team can save you money and time with better rates on all your insurance needs, including auto, home, life, and business.
If you are interested in getting personalized investment guidance to meet your financial goals, learn more at www.alabamaone.org/wealth-advisory.
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