Kevin Cody

4 Steps to a Money Tune-Up

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Some people need help cleaning up messy personal finances, but what if you’re more or less on top of things? You have enough money to cover your expenses, you’re putting money toward retirement and you have no debt or a plan to pay off debt. This actually means that you’re in a perfect situation to look at your finances and make some tweaks that can substantially improve your financial situation. Making sure you are saving as much money as you can, monitoring your credit report and setting new goals are all good steps toward increased financial security.

Saving Money

There are many ways to save money. Cutting back on your expenses is the obvious one, but if you are already conscientious about your spending, there might be little wiggle room for you there. This is where you turn to other areas to try and save. Keep in mind that saving does not just mean putting away more money in the short run but saving money in the long run. For example, you could cut years off your student loan payments by refinancing them. A student loan refinance can give you a lower rate, and it just takes two minutes to see if you can change your relationship with your existing student loans. You might be able to save by refinancing other debts as well or by paying them off with lower-interest loans instead.

Review Your Credit Reports

When was the last time you checked on your credit? You can get free reports annually from the different credit agencies, and this is a good way to make sure that the information they have on you is accurate. Your credit report will have your account information, addresses and any requests for your credit history. If there is incorrect data on your report, check with the credit agency to find out how you can file a dispute.

Take Stock

When you are relatively financially stable is a great time to reflect on your past relationship with money and your goals for the future. It can be helpful to analyze mistakes and think about what you can learn from them. For example, you might have a tendency to make unrealistic budgets or spend a little more than you should on ways that add up. You should also think about your one-year, five-year and long-term financial plan. Do you want to buy a home, or do you hope to retire early? Perhaps you want to become a more aggressive investor. With this in mind, you can go on to the final step below.

See a Financial Professional

If you are not already working with a financial professional, this is a great time to see an advisor. Although you should do your own research to find the one who will be best for you, many people consider a fee-only advisor to be more transparent since they do not earn commissions on the products they recommend. If you don’t know where to start finding the right professional, try asking family, friends and colleagues at work.

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