Your Mid-Year Financial Checklist
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- Regularly examining your financial habits can help you stay on track to reach annual financial goals.
- If you're saving more than you thought you would at the start of the year, consider using your extra funds to pay off debt or make an investment.
- Reviewing your credit reports allows you to correct mistakes and discover potentially fraudulent activity.
Examining your financial habits partway through the year can help you reach your annual personal financial goals. Here are steps you can take for a mid-year review:
Review and Update Your Budget
Planning and sticking to a budget can be hard. Use your mid-year personal financial review to make sure you're staying on track with your saving, spending and income goals. Start by reviewing your credit card and bank statements. Make sure to divide your spending into categories such as rent, utilities, food, health and entertainment. By reviewing your spending habits for the first half of the year, you can develop strategies to change or improve them during the second half.
If you're saving more than you thought you would at the start of the year, consider using your extra funds to pay off debt or make an investment. If you're spending more than planned, brainstorm ways you can cut back. Either way, make sure your budget going forward is both realistic and flexible.
Check on Your Emergency Fund
While reviewing your budget, also assess how much you have saved in your emergency fund. Most financial planning experts recommend having three to six months' worth of living expenses in an interest-bearing savings account. If you haven't built up an adequate emergency fund, it's not too late to start. Reassess your budget and come up with a saving plan to reach the three- to six-month target in a realistic timeframe.
Revisit Your Credit Reports
Even if you're not planning to take out a loan or apply for a credit card anytime soon, checking your credit reports a couple of times a year is a good financial habit. Reviewing your credit reports allows you to correct mistakes and discover potential fraudulent activity. You can request copies of your credit reports from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus and proactively monitor your credit histories to make sure that everything is in order. You can get six free copies of your Equifax credit report each year when you sign up for a myEquifax account. You can also get free weekly Equifax credit reports through April 2022 at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Review Your Retirement Savings
If you have room to spare in your budget, consider adjusting your retirement savings contributions plan. Look for ways to adjust your budget to get as close as possible to these limits. In the process, you'll set yourself up for a more financially secure future.
Change Your Passwords and Other Sensitive Data
Changing your passwords is an inconvenient, but necessary, step toward better protecting yourself against fraud and identity theft. Make sure you have strong, unique passwords for any online accounts that include personal financial information. Strong passwords typically have both uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols.
To protect yourself further, enable two-step verification on all your financial accounts. This security feature makes it much harder for anyone to access your accounts besides yourself.
Manage Your Subscriptions
Check your credit card and bank statements to see what monthly subscriptions you're currently paying for. If you're not really reading that newspaper, watching that streaming service or cooking those meal prep deliveries, it may be time to cancel one or more subscriptions.
Review Your Tax-Deductible Expenses
Looking over expenses that are considered tax-deductible halfway through the year can make things easier for you later on. Examples include:
- Medical and dental expenses
- Student loan interest
- Home mortgage interest
- Property taxes
- Charitable contributions
Accounting for these potential deductions now can save you time when your tax return is due next April.
Plan for the Holidays
The holiday season can be stressful for many reasons. If possible, aim to avoid making it financially stressful. Are you thinking about taking a vacation or making a large purchase during the holidays? If so, now is the time to start budgeting for these expenses. Saving now can make your plans this November and December much more achievable.