Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winterize Your Finances

Now that a new year is upon us and the news years resolutions hopefully are still in progress, its a good time to take some financial inventory. To help keep your "financial machine" well oiled consider the following:

1. Start early gathering up all necessary information necessary to do your taxes.

2. Obtain and review a free copy of your credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report every year. The official online site is Dispute errors in writing -sample letters can be found on the FTC website.

3. If you carry balances on your credit cards develop a plan to pay them in full and then pledge to yourself that you will pay card bills in full every month. If necesary seek the help of a local and reputable non-profit credit counseling organization.

4. Take some time to evaluate your estate plan or develop one if you have none. A simple will may be all that you need and most lawyers charge very reasonable fees to prepare one. Some things that may trigger the need to revise your estate plan include the birth of a new child, getting married or divorced, death of a beneficiary and an increase in your assets.

5. Start building or adding to your "rainy day" fund. Many experts recommend an amount equal to a minimum of 6 months living expenses be kept in liquid, safe investments. With today's uncertainty a full year is even better.

6. Re-evaluate and assess your investment and retirement portfolio with your investment advisor.

7. Set aside $30 dollars so that when you are finished with "winterizing" your finances, you and your spouse or significant other can take in a good movie on a drab winter day.

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