Many of us take stock of our finances at the beginning of the year in preparation for tax season, but planning a mid-year financial check-up allows you to modify and course correct. That could mean paying down your debt more aggressively or contributing more to your retirement plan after a raise.
Whatever your reasons, a mid-year financial check-up could save you thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. Here are 5 steps to take now.
1. Inspect Your Credit Report
Having a solid credit score comes in handy when you are looking to rent an apartment, buy a house, open a new credit card, start a business, or even get a new job.
Make a habit of checking your credit score for signs of identity theft or activity that results in a penalty. Checking your credit doesn’t have to result in your score taking a hit. There are plenty of apps and websites that will provide a free credit report.
2. Plan For Tax Season
Don’t wait until the new year to start thinking about your taxes. A little planning can go a long way. Take time for periodic maintenance of records of tax-deductible expenses, like out-of-pocket medical expenses, charitable contributions, and mortgage interest.
You can also reduce your taxes by contributing to tax-advantaged retirement accounts, like a 401(k) or IRA, and if you have investments that are doing poorly, the IRS allows you to deduct up to $3,000 in capital losses from your ordinary income each year.
3. Evaluate Your Budget
Budgeting is a sure-fire way to plug up any leaks in your finances. You may be surprised to find that you’ve been paying for streaming or software subscription services that you haven’t used in months. Creating a budget will help you visualize your spending habits and make cuts or diversions where necessary.
Make plans for an emergency fund in your budget. This fund should provide you with enough funds to support yourself for about six months to a year in the event that you lose your job or are struck by misfortune.
4. Renegotiate Bills
You might be surprised at the possibility of renegotiating some of your most important and expensive bills. When was the last time you spoke with your car insurance company? If you have been a good driver, look up competitor rates and see if you can get a better deal with your insurer.
The same goes for your cell phone, internet, and cable bills. For example, sometimes cell phone companies offer special deals for new customers. If these new deals are better than the one you have, call them up and remind them that you have been a loyal customer, why shouldn’t you have access to this new deal?
5. Manage and Prioritize Your Debts
The best way to save money is to get rid of your debt as soon as possible. Has your debt been increasing or decreasing since the beginning of the year? If it’s increasing, you need to review your budget and find out what’s going on.
Debt is particularly toxic in an economic environment where interest rates are on the rise. Fortunately, you can tackle your debt quickly by working with a debt settlement company that will negotiate with your creditors, allowing you to pay back less than you owe.
Trust and experience are what make a good debt settlement company. Americor has relieved $2 billion dollars in debt in over 30 states. They are fully accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC), and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA). With over 700 employees, Americor can tailor the optimal solution to your situation and help you navigate these uncertain financial times.
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