The end of summer is a great time for a mid-year financial check-in. Before the school year starts and the holiday season really ramps up, take a few minutes to review your financial goals, your credit score, and other important aspects of your financial health.
Here’s your four-point checklist for an easy and effective financial check-in.
1. Map Goals
If you set any financial goals at the start of the year, now is a great time to assess your progress. What techniques are keeping you on the right path? How can you remain steady for the rest of the year? On the other hand, it’s possible your financial situation has changed – in which case there’s absolutely nothing wrong with adjusting your original goals to match.
Don’t have any specific financial goals? Consider choosing a target from the list below:
- Open a tax-advantaged account: If you don’t already have an IRA (Individual Retirement Account), get one before the end of the year to reduce your tax bill while saving for retirement.
- Review important paperwork: Set aside a few hours to check that your will, life insurance, healthcare proxy and other important directives are in order.
- Set up eStatements: Save paper and get faster access to financial management by doing more online and app-based banking with your financial institution.
2. Review Debt and Credit Score
Debt has a huge effect on your financial health. If you want to qualify for the best rates on loans, credit cards and other financial products, it’s important to pay down debt whenever possible. For your mid-year financial check-in, review how much debt is in your name. Having some debt isn’t bad, i.e. if you’re still paying off a home – as long as you’re making the minimum monthly payments.
Reviewing your debt situation also means checking your credit score. You can do this by looking at your most recent bank statement or getting in touch with a credit reporting agency. If something doesn’t look correct, write to the agency so that they can investigate any errors. It’s possible that a mistake was made, or that you may have been the victim of fraud.
3. Budget for the Coming Months
A mid-year financial check-in means reflecting on how finances have been going so far, and asking what’s coming next. The second half of the year often includes more spending, with back-to-school expenses, summer vacation bills, and the winter holiday season. Ensure you have a budget in place to make it through December without busting your bank account – a good budgeting app like Mint or Goodbudget is always a helpful place to start!
4. Call a Professional
As a final step for your financial check-in, chat with a professional. As a benefit of belonging to HUECU, members can speak with a financial expert at GreenPath Financial Wellness about debt management, credit reports, and other financial topics. GreenPath also has a number of educational resources online to help you reach your personal financial goals – including webinars, worksheets, calculators and more! Try starting with their Learning Lab+ platform for a choose your own adventure-style guide toward a healthy financial future.