Money Management

January Financial Housekeeping

It’s January. The holidays have come and gone, and you are starting to settle back in to your normal work, family, and/or recreational routine.

With things getting more back to normal, now is a good time to take care of some financial action items to get organized and optimized for the New Year.

Below are 3 such housekeeping items that you may want to take a look at this month:

1.      Update Your List of Financial Accounts

In today’s competitive banking/financial environment, it seems like people are accruing more and more financial accounts. For example, it’s not uncommon for people to have at least 5 credit cards, 2-3 bank accounts (one savings, one checking, one joint account), and multiple investing accounts. Generally, this accumulation of accounts happens because we often open up one account and then find another better deal elsewhere or an enticing sign-up bonus.

Regardless of how the accounts were accumulated, you need to maintain a listing of all of these accounts, both from a perspective of knowing your current net worth and also in the unwanted event that you are injured or killed and someone else needs to access/manage your accounts on your behalf.

Because of this, a wise move this month would be to create (and share with your wife, significant other, parents, siblings, etc) a Google Doc Spreadsheet that lists out what types of accounts you have at various financial institutions.

2.      Reduce Your Credit Card Interest Rate

With it being January and Christmas behind us, you might have accumulated a little bit of credit card debt from your holiday purchases. If so, and you are paying a very high interest rate on your credit card, now might be a good time to do several things. First, call up your credit card company and simply ask for a lower interest rate. Second, if you have a fairly small balance that can be paid off within a year, think about switching to another card that features a 0% balance transfer offer.

3.      Calculate What Percentage of Your Income You Saved Last Year and Your Goal For the Current Year

Our financial housekeeping step for the month of January involves figuring out what percentage of your before or (preferably) after-tax income you saved last year and also what your target is for this coming year. These are good things to know in order to plan for retirement and see if you are saving effectively. 

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