Building wealth requires regular maintenance and attention to detail.
Just like seasonal chores, a spring finance refresh might be exactly what you need.
Spring is a great time to dust off the running shoes, hone in on your healthy habits, enjoy time with loved ones, and most importantly, reset your financial goals. Although financial planning should always be on your calendar, take advantage of a seasonal tune-up to further lay the foundation for a secure future.
Clean up your spending habits
Building wealth and reaching your financial goals is close to impossible without saving your money. It’s necessary to ensure that your income supports the lifestyle you want to live and can cover your expenses each month. One way to learn more about your current spending patterns is to understand the habits that cause you to spend money.
You can even track your bills for an entire month to see how much money you bring in and compare that to how much you spend, what you buy, and when you make those purchases. Many are shocked to learn how much money they actually spend outside of their necessities.
Cleaning up your spending habits can allow you to have a full picture understanding of your lifestyle and allow you to adjust accordingly. From there, you can make incremental adjustments that won’t have a huge impact on your life. Rather, this will allow you to reallocate some of this extra money and invest it in your future for large gains down the road. Again, this might be a small change, such as reducing the days you eat out or cutting down your leisure shopping budget to $100 less a month.
Pick up projects where you left off
Home updates and DIY projects have become an ongoing trend since the start of the pandemic. These projects allow homeowners to create and style their dream home, while also increasing its value in the process. So, if you began a project and decided it was getting expensive or you simply got preoccupied, spring is a great time to get back to work, but with a better financial plan this time.
If you own a home, congratulations! You can use this to your advantage when it comes to financing your DIY project. One benefit of owning a house is that you’re able to take out a home equity loan and receive a tax-deductible lump sum of money to be used for your home improvement project.
To ensure that you’re investing your time and money to receive the greatest return value, consider projects such as a kitchen update, a new deck or patio with landscaping, adding lighting, replacing windows, or remodeling the basement. Taking advantage of your home equity allows you to complete a project that will add value to your home and increase the amount you’ll receive when you sell it without digging you into much deeper debt right now.
Exterminate any hard-to-reach debt
If you’ve acquired debt from education, starting a business, buying a home, a major renovation, or anything of that nature, you understand that owing a large amount of money comes with a looming feeling.
Rather than feel held back by the money you owe, you should make a plan that helps you feel empowered. Consider your personal situation and how much you owe to help you determine the best ways to pay off debt so you can save and budget responsibly. From increased initial payments to debt consolidation, there is an option that will align with your personal needs and lifestyle. The longer you allow it to sit there without being proactive, the more stress you’ll feel and the higher interest you’ll face down the road.
Tidy up your bank accounts
One of the best ways to organize your finances is to maintain separate bank accounts for all your endeavors. If you’re an entrepreneur, own a business, or have alternative income streams, having separate checking and savings accounts can help you manage your money correctly without confusion or error.
In addition, you should consider creating an emergency fund account or dedicated savings for just that reason alone – an emergency. Until you experience one, you might not realize the importance of having a financial safety net at the ready for an unexpected circumstance.
It’s also not a bad idea to have multiple savings accounts to help you budget. If you prefer to set aside finances for recurring yearly or quarterly expenses, such as insurance, seasonal needs, pet visits, childcare, or home maintenance, this might be helpful for you. Since those are fixed expenses, rather than pulling from your larger savings, you know it’s already been allocated for and you won’t be tempted to use it for other things.
Iron out your plans for the future
Depending on the season of life you’re in, you might not have thought in depth about retirement, your estate plan, or what will happen to your money once you’re no longer around. No matter your age, if you own a home, plan to get married, or are about to start a family, this is something to consider.
It’s recommended that you secure a life insurance policy as you approach any major life milestone. Preserving your wealth with life insurance gives you peace of mind and financial support for your loved ones during a difficult time. It’s a good idea to set up a policy sooner rather than later to secure lower rates when you’re young and healthy.
Estate planning falls into a similar category as it can help ease distress by clearly outlining your financial wishes to your family and loved ones. Taking time to review these estate planning tips can help you avoid expenses, delays, and confusion should anything happen to you, such as death, injury, or serious illness where you’re unable to make these important decisions.
Planning for the long-term future can seem overwhelming and maybe a bit overkill, but you’ll be surprised to find how fast the years go and before you know it, you’ll be nearing retirement. It’s best to expose yourself now and start thinking about what you want for yourself and your family down the road so you can make sound financial decisions.
Take regular inventory of your finances
The good (and bad) news is that financial planning is a continual process that requires adjustments as your lifestyle changes. Rather, the point is to be secure at all times and be prepared for the ups and downs life throws your way. That said, it’s a good idea to regularly review your investments with a professional.
If you have a financial advisor, continue to revise your budget and spending based on the stage of life you’re in. It doesn’t always have to be a sit-down portfolio review to be effective. You’re better off taking inventory every couple of months to double-check yourself rather than panic at the end of the year that you spent more than you intended.
Without a plan, you can’t set yourself up for success in the ways that you likely desire. By taking initiative and investing in your financial future this season and continuing to refresh every so often, you’ll be able to hold yourself accountable to reach your goals. Use this motivation as a starting point, but continue to design the life of your choosing, establish financial stability, and aim for longevity.