Spring Cleaning For Your Finances

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It’s a bit early to start thinking about spring, but never too early to get your finances in order.  Today I wanted to cover how easily it can be to find some hidden treasures when you sit down to review your finances annually.

April 15th Is Approaching 

Tax time is upon us, so now is as good of time as any to also look at your balance sheet.  In case you aren’t familiar with that term, some may refer to it as a personal financial statement.  It’s a listing of what you own (assets) and who you owe (liabilities).  The difference is your equity or net worth.

If you don’t have your balance sheet on paper, that’s ok.  Gather up your statements from all your financial institutions.  If you’re like me, you may do business with multiple financial providers as we chase the best rates, lowest fees, and sometimes overall convenience.  Paper in hand, so what exactly are we looking for in this review?

Fees On Retirement and Banking Accounts

It’s a perfect time to check your retirement  and banking statements since you should have the December 31st version on hand by now.  See what you are paying for financial services and the fees on your various investments.  Ask yourself if the fees you pay are adding value or robbing you from investment gains.  It could make sense to consolidate those down to one or two institutions or find investment options with lower annual expense ratios.

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Accounts You Forgot You Had

This seems silly, right.  No one misplaces their money.  It’s really easy to forget about that savings bond that grandpa gave you years ago or the CD you started for the kids when they were born.  If you aren’t earning above the rate of inflation on investments, somewhere around 2%, it may be time to think about putting those funds to work in some better yielding investments.

Underperforming Investments 

You bought that stock when it was cheap and guess what-it’s still cheap.  The markets have been on a pretty decent tear as of late, and if you have some money sitting in a clunker of a fund, stock, or ETF, time to get that money back to work.  Every little bit matters when planning your retirement strategy.  Dollars turn into big gains over a long horizon.

My Spring Cleaning Yield

I personally just did this.  And I’m still looking for that dang savings bond I know I have somewhere.  Here was my haul at a quick glance:

  • Found an old A-Class mutual fund I had purchased with high school graduation money circa 1999.  It was doing decent and fees weren’t terribly high, but I want it with my primary brokerage account at E*TRADE.  So I made a phone call to get it pulled over so I can re-deploy.
  • The kids had some savings accounts I started when they were little.  The rates are too low to even discuss online, so guess what.  I am consolidating with their primary custodial accounts this week and plowing this into their current mutual fund/ETF strategy.
  • My emergency fund is probably bigger than it needs to be for a savings account.  I am currently researching some low volatility options for this money and I plan to set up a modified multi-tier strategy to boost those gains above the current rate of 1.05% APY.

So put down the Netflix for a few hours, you can binge watch Breaking Bad re-runs tomorrow.  The money you save will make you glad you did!

-The Fiscal Savant-

*Disclaimer-The information contained within is the opinion of the editor and should not be construed as financial advice.  Enjoy our articles for what they are and consult with financial professionals for tax and investment advice.


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