It’s hard to believe, but 2019 is half over. Take a timeout from barbecues and beaches to give yourself a mid-year financial checkup. Use the seven steps below to guide you.
Step 1: Revisit Your Budget
Take some time to review your monthly budget. Is it working for you or are you falling behind each month? After reviewing, adjust your budget as necessary.
Step 2: Anticipate Large Expenses
List any large expenses you anticipate in the coming six months. This can include household appliances that may need replacing or an anticipated medical expense that is not fully covered by insurance. Next, determine the spending category you will take the money from to cover these expenses. Deciding on a source for these funds now will help you avoid making the wrong choices when you’re under pressure in the future. If you do not have enough money set aside for these expenses, build a savings plan into your monthly budget so you have the funds available when you need them.
Step 3: Review Your Tax Withholdings
Review your tax withholdings to see if they need any adjusting. Your goal here is to pay the perfect amount so you’re not hit with a huge tax bill at the end of the year, but you’re also not lending the government your money all year long.
Step 4: Check Your Credit Score
VisitAnnualCreditReport.com for your free credit report from any of the three major credit bureaus. If your score has gone up in the last six months, you’re doing great! Conversely, if your score has dropped, review your report in detail. Take the necessary steps to fix your score today, whether that means contesting an erroneous charge with theFederal Trade Commission, setting up an automatic payment on some of your bills or lowering your credit utilization rate by paying with plastic less often.
Step 5: Review Your Investments
Review and adjust all of your investments. This includes your retirement funds, stocks, bonds, trust funds or certificates. Make sure you are maximizing your contributions when possible and that your other investments are performing according to plan. This might be a good time to schedule a review with your tax or financial advisor. You may also want to attend the upcoming Financial Expo on August 15th.
Step 6: Tackle Your Debt
List every outstanding debt you carry, including credit card debt and all kinds of loans. Designate one debt to tackle first and work on a plan to pay it down. Once you’ve paid off this debt, move to the next one on your list.
Step 7: Review Your Financial Resolutions and Long-term Goals
Review the financial resolutions and goals you set at the end of 2018 and determine whether you are taking the steps necessary for making them happen. If you’ve been neglecting them, create a plan for working toward them for the rest of the year.
Now you can kick back and enjoy the season. Happy summer!