Monday, January 9, 2012

Financial Check-Up

Many of us began the new year with many great resolutions.  Lose weight, run a 5 K, spend time with family.  When developing these resolutions, we look at things we would like to do.  These are the things we get excited about and can visualize ourselves doing them.  This is great!  New year = New Me.

At the beginning of each new year, each of us should stop and consider what things in our financial lives need work.  Look at the following and see what areas you might need to focus on in your own finances.

1.) Check your rates - Do you have the lowest interest rates on your house and car?  Would it be worthwhile to refinance these items to get a lower rate?  Right now, we have the opportunity to take advantage of some historically low interest rates.  Do not procrastinate.  Set the ball rolling to take advantage of these offers now.

2.) Savings - Are you earning the best rate you can?  I currently have a money market where I earn less than 1% on my money.  I could move this to a credit union and make 2.25%.  Why am I putting this off?  We are self-employed; it would mean my husband would need to make his paycheck a direct deposit.  Probably not difficult, but it would mean one more thing on his to-do list so I am not pushing it.  Should I?

3.) Check credit card rates-  Could you have a lower rate?  Credit card companies are still competing for our dollars.  Granted, they may not be working as hard as they have done in the past,but it is still worth your time and effort to see if you can lower the interest rate. 

4.) Update your will - Check to make sure that your wishes are understood in case something happens.  We never know when our time has come.

5.) Taxes - Start preparing now for tax season.  Whether you do them yourself or take them to a tax preparation service, get the paperwork together now so that you do not forget any deductions.

I loathe these chores.  Last week, I got the ball rolling on refinancing our house.  This week I will attempt to talk with my husband about the credit union.  What actions will you take this week to get your financial house in order?  If I can do this, I know you can.  Feel free to hold me accountable in the comment section.

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