Your Financial Reset Checklist: Moves to Make This Spring

| May 08, 2024

Strategic Adjustments for Enhanced Financial Health: A Mid-Year Review Guide

As we approach the midpoint of the year, it’s an ideal time to review and potentially reset your financial strategies. This period allows you to assess your progress towards your annual goals, adjust your budgets, and fine-tune your investment strategies, too. Here’s a practical mid-year financial reset checklist to guide you through your mid-year financial review.

1. Review Your Budget

Start with a thorough review of your current budget:

  • Examine Spending Habits: Compare your planned expenses against actual spending. Look for areas where you’ve overspent and identify categories where you can cut back.
  • Adjust Budgets: Based on your spending review, make the necessary adjustments to your budgets for the rest of the year. Consider any changes in your income or expenses since the beginning of the year.

2. Evaluate Your Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is important for financial security, providing a buffer against unexpected expenses:

  • Assess Fund Adequacy: If you don’t have one already, work toward an emergency fund that covers at least three to six months of living expenses. If you aren’t near your goal yet, plan how you can bolster this fund in the second half of the year.
  • Replenish If Needed: If you’ve had to dip into your emergency fund, it’s alright! That’s why you have it. However, now you need to make a plan to replenish it. Prioritize this to avoid potential financial strain going forward.

3. Reassess Your Financial Goals

Mid-year is a perfect time to reassess and refine your financial goals:

  • Goal Progress: Evaluate how close you are to achieving the goals you set at the beginning of the year. This could be saving for a down payment, paying off debt, building a plan to pay for healthcare in retirement, or investing more of your retirement savings.
  • Adjust Goals as Necessary: Life circumstances change, and so may your financial goals. Adjust your strategies to better align with your current situation and future aspirations.

If you neglected to set goals at the start of the year, it’s not too late! There is nothing magical about January 1, so get started setting your goals now with the S.M.A.R.T. goals framework.

4. Check Credit Reports

Regular checks on your credit report can help you catch and rectify any inaccuracies that might affect your financial health, not to mention helping you spot identity theft:

  • Request Credit Reports: You can obtain a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year at AnnualCreditReport.com.
  • Review for Accuracy: Look for any discrepancies or fraudulent activities. Promptly report any errors to the credit bureau for correction.

5. Review Insurance Coverages

Insurance needs can evolve, so it’s important to periodically review your policies:

  • Assess Coverage Needs: Consider changes in your life that might affect your insurance needs, such as buying a new home, changing marital status, or adding a family member.
  • Shop for Better Rates: Compare your current policies with what’s available on the market to see if you can find better rates or more comprehensive coverage for the same price.

6. Optimize Your Investments

Market conditions change, and so should your investment strategies:

  • Portfolio Review: Assess the performance of your investments and consider rebalancing if your asset allocation has drifted from your target, which happens to many investors over time.
  • Tax-Saving Strategies: Consider tax implications of any buy or sell actions in your portfolio and explore opportunities like tax-loss harvesting to offset gains.

7. Plan for Tax Liabilities

You may be breathing a sigh of relief with tax season behind you, but working all year round to understand your potential tax liabilities can help you manage your finances more effectively:

  • Estimate Taxes: Use your current earnings and expenses to estimate your tax liability for the year.
  • Adjust Withholdings:If you anticipate a major tax bill or a significant refund, adjust your tax withholdings accordingly to better manage your cash flow.

8. Reflect on Your Financial Well-Being

This step is a subjective addition to your mid-year financial reset checklist because financial well-being means different things to different people. So, decide what it means to you and take a moment to reflect on how you’re feeling about your finances:

  • Financial Stress Test: Consider how you would handle a financial emergency. Do you feel confident about your financial situation?
  • Educational Opportunities: Look for ways to improve your financial literacy. Engaging with financial news, books, or seminars can provide valuable insights and enhance your financial decision-making skills.

Concluding Thoughts on Using a Mid-Year Financial Review Checklist

A mid-year financial review checklist is a practical tool that can help you take proactive steps to stay on track with your financial objectives. This checklist serves as a guide to help you assess various aspects of your finances, from budgeting and savings to investments and taxes. By taking the time to review and adjust your financial plan now, you can improve your financial health and approach the rest of the year with a solid strategy in place.

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[1] https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/smart-goals/ 

[2] https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/how-can-i-spot-identity-theft-en-1359/#:~:text=Look%20closely%20for%20charges%20or,the%20small%20debit%20goes%20unnoticed. 

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