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Cleaning Up Finances While At Home For Social Distancing

Cleaning Up Finances While At Home For Social Distancing

| March 30, 2020
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If you’re like most Americans, you’ve suddenly found yourself spending all your time at home. What to do with these extra hours? Well, it turns out that social distancing and spring cleaning are occurring simultaneously this year! If organizing and decluttering isn’t already one of your hobbies, now is a perfect opportunity to not put off getting your finances in order any longer. In any case, having a good understanding of your finances will relieve some stress during this time because you’ll see where you can improve and what should stay the same.

Here are a few ways to make the most of your extra time at home, while also bringing clarity to your financial situation (including where all your important information is being stored). 

Consolidate Financial Clutter And Documents

This can seem like a daunting task, but think of how you’ll feel when it’s all done! Shredding old bank statements, pay stubs, and anything that has your personal information on it from more than 2 months ago is a great place to start. This decreases the risk of identity theft, frees up extra space, and allows you to find important documents much faster. The majority of banks, credit unions, and employers keep a digital file of all these statements should you need them for any reason. 

Paper documents related to investments, home improvements, and taxes should be kept for seven years. Use the following link to find more details on what records to keep and for how long. (1)

Check Your Credit

Did you know that the federal government allows you to get a free credit report once per year? You can request yours at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. (2) Unlike some free credit reporting options, these are accurate records of your credit from three national credit bureaus. Whether you have great credit or you’re a little nervous to check your score, the important thing is that you are staying informed. 

It’s important to take advantage of this even if you know the exact balance and interest rate from every creditor you pay. Doing all your banking, shopping, vacation bookings, and investments online are great for convenience, but having that personal information transmitted through the internet means you’re more susceptible to cyberattacks and identity theft. As a result, there is a higher chance that someone could obtain that information and start using your credit without you being aware of it.

Review Your Interest Rates And Create A Budget

If you call your creditor to see if there is anything they can do to lower your interest rates for credit card payments, many times they will. Depending on your credit, consider consolidating to a 0% interest rate credit card and transfer the balance so you can pay off the debt faster. Also, look at refinancing any vehicle loan you have to pay off the debt faster or decrease the minimum payment so you can put more toward savings for emergencies. 

If you haven’t used a budget before, a few easy-to-use budgeting apps to choose from are Mint, PocketGaurd, GoodBudget (multiple users can access the same account), and YNAB or EveryDollar for zero-based budgeting. Some of these are free or have options to upgrade to a version that enables your banking to be automatically synced with the app. This way your expenses are imported into the app, allowing you to quickly assign expenses to all your budget categories without manually importing anything.

Finish Your Cleanup

With the hard part behind you, you can take comfort knowing you are completely aware of your finances and where things are when you need them. To make sure you haven’t missed anything, allow Match Point Financial to conduct a financial checkup, and we can help identify a financial goal you’d like to work toward achieving. The best way to create an action plan and make it a reality is for us to get to know you so we can see the whole picture of what’s important to you. To start the conversation, contact us by calling 352-207-8014 or schedule a complimentary phone call using our online calendar.

About Chris

Chris Reed is a financial advisor and the founder of Match Point Financial. Since 2002, he has been helping people make informed choices with their money and pursue their financial goals and objectives. He started his career with MetLife and has continued seeking to provide his clients with the best possible service through A.G. Edwards, UBS, and finally through partnering with Cetera Advisors LLC and forming his own independent firm in 2010. Learn more about Chris by connecting with him on LinkedIn or register for his recent webinar “Are Your Old 401(k)s Collecting Dust and Losing You Money?” here.

Financial Advisor: Securities and advisory services offered through Cetera Advisors LLC, member FINRA/ SIPC, a broker/dealer and a Registered Investment Advisor. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.

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(1) https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/what-records-keep-how-long-1267.php#records

(2) https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

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