By Allyn Hughes, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CAP®
The long winter is now past and spring is here. Now is the time to spend a few minutes reviewing your personal finances to make sure you are well-prepared for the rest of the year. We suggest that you focus your efforts on three main areas, cleaning, reviewing and managing.
Clean out your desk
• File, image and throw away old statements and bills.
• Balance your checkbook.
• File away your 2013 federal and state income tax returns. These should be held forever, although you shouldn’t get audited after three years.
• Make a file to save all of your receipts for your 2014 tax-deductible contributions that you have made to non-profit organizations.
Review your wishes
• Check the beneficiaries that you have named on your IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401K or other employer-sponsored retirement plans. Make sure that you have named at least one living primary and contingent beneficiary.
• Review your will and estate planning documents to confirm that they meet your current wishes. Make sure that you are still comfortable with the personal representative/executor that you have named and that the document still distributes your personal property in the way you intend it to. If you have changes, contact your estate planning attorney to have a simple codicil created to reflect your current wishes.
Manage your financial status
• Check your credit report. You can obtain your credit report for free from the three primary credit agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) at www.annualcreditreport.com. Make sure to closely review your personal information and the information from your credit providers to make sure that all is correct.
• Go online to www.ssa.gov and create a social security account so you may download a social security statement. These statements are no longer mailed. Review this statement to make sure that your earnings history has been accurately tracked by the government.
Following these tips is a simple way to better manage and protect your financial identity. Spending some time to take care of these is time well-spent.
~ Brooks, Hughes & Jones Wealth Advisors, Tacoma, WA