Spring is in the air! An opportunity for many to work on their Spring Cleaning projects. Clean out closets, do minor or major repairs around the house, spruce up the yard and get it in tip top shape for backyard fun! And with this season SPRINGing you into action to clean and organize, why not take the time to clean up and organize your financial house too!
Spring is all about new beginnings, making changes, and getting on track. And with just finishing tax season, it is the perfect time to organize your important documents, review outstanding debt, and get into a position to plant a fantastic financial plan that will blossom for years to come. Use the following steps:
Step 1 – Box or shred documents from 2017
It is recommended that you hold onto documents for seven years. Be sure to place 2017 documents in a large envelope or box and mark it 2017. Documents that should be saved include: Federal and State Income Taxes, Property Tax Bills, Mortgage related documents, earned interest forms from bank accounts, capital gains statements, and any credit card statements or receipts that were used as expenses on tax returns.
Step 2 – Create an organized filing system for documents
With tax season behind you, it is the perfect time to start an organized filing system! Documents can be organized in a filing cabinet using hanging folders, a filing box with hanging folders, or even an accordion file. Simply label each folder by account. For example, Mortgage / Rent – Electricity – Cell Phone – Water – Credit Cards – Medical Bills – Bank Statements – Pay check stubs – Auto Loan – Insurance-etc. Have a separate folder for each and every account. If you receive statements online, simply create individual separate folders in your inbox, and file the statements away monthly.
Having an organized filing system allows you to easily access documents when needed. You can also use the documents to prepare a budget and identify areas where expenses could be cut, debts should be paid down and eliminated, and savings can be built.
Step 3 – Review Credit Card and Student Loan debt statements
If you carry a balance on credit cards or have student loan debt, take the time to gather the monthly statements and document the total outstanding debt. Items to note include:
Knowing the above information will help you prepare a plan to pay off debt efficiently.
Step 4 – Determine if Spring is a time to refinance or purchase a home
Home prices in the Bay Area have risen over the last few years which has resulted in increased equity positions for homeowners. With interest rates still at historically low levels, now may be the perfect time to access the equity in your home and do home improvements, lock-in a fixed rate loan if you currently have an adjustable rate mortgage, or make a move, and purchase a home to start building your equity now.
Spring offers so many great opportunities to improve your financial health. A healthy tax return can provide funds for a down payment, funds to pay off debt, or funds to build a savings account. Regardless of your goal, use this time of year to determine your unique financial path.