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Could This Be the Year You Get Your Finances Organized?

If you want a feeling of accomplishment, here’s a quick way to do it: get your financial and legal life in order.

With these five simple steps, says in its recent article, “5 resolutions for managing money,” you can get these important aspects of your life in order. They are very specific and very achievable. Start today!

Create Goal-Specific Plans. Think about what you want to achieve in 2018 and how you can save to make it happen. Move funds into the savings category automatically and regularly. Ask your bank to have a specific amount regularly moved from your checking account into a savings account. You can use direct deposit from your paycheck to a savings account, if that’s available. Then leave that money alone!

Keep Track of Your Spending. "Budget" may be a dirty word to many, but knowing what you spend is the best way to make changes to your financial life. There are plenty of resources that can help. For example, is a free budgeting app that is easy to set up and maintain. If you want more control over the categories and a variety of reports related to spending and budget, Quicken is a good product.

Lower Banking Fees. Review your bank accounts and find better deals, such as checking and savings accounts that don't charge monthly fees or require a minimum balance.

Lower Interest Rates. If you carry a balance on your credit cards, look at the options. Make a list of credit cards and their interest rates, then contact each card company and ask them to lower your rate. If you have a good payment history, you might be surprised to see how often they agree. If your lender says no, don't give up. Try your other cards, and see if they have a zero-percent interest balance transfer offer.

Visit an Estate Planning Attorney. No one wants to prepare for their own death, but if you don't, the state will dictate what happens to your minor children and your property.

Even if you have all the documents you think you need, review them on a regular basis with an experienced estate planning attorney. Circumstances can change, and estate plans need to keep up with our lives. There are births, adoptions, deaths, marriages, divorces, and many other things that can happen that necessitate changes to your estate plan.

A review every few years will give you peace of mind that your plan is right for you and your family. Waiting to make updates is a big mistake. Life happens while we are waiting, and failure to update an estate plan very often creates real problems for loved ones.

Reference: (December 6, 2017) “5 resolutions for managing money”

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