You’ve likely heard that mid-year financial planning is a good idea—but do you actually apply this strategy to improve your finances? If you haven’t taken the time to review where you stand in the past, we encourage you to do so now so you can take advantage of tax savings and make any necessary budgetary adjustments before the end of the year.
Consider the following five key areas as you review your finances from a mid-year perspective.
Financial experts recommend socking away three to six months’ of savings, set aside in an easily accessible account in case you have unexpected bills or if you have a break in employment. Once your emergency fund is full, focus on maximizing retirement savings through your 401(k), IRA, or other qualified retirement savings account.
While it’s easy to sit back and let your investments take care of themselves, you should periodically check on the health of your investments. This will help ensure that you are on track to reach your goals or prompt you in case you need to reallocate funds or rebalance your portfolio.
3) Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s)
If you’re contributing to an FSA to be reimbursed for healthcare, childcare, and commuting costs, take a few moments to submit your receipts for expenses incurred during the first half of the year. Unused FSA funds are often forfeited, so depending where you are mid-year, you may need to increase spending.
4) Mortgage Payments
Mortgage interest rates are relatively low, but they are likely to rise in the near future. Mid-year is a good time to investigate whether refinancing your mortgage makes sense. As a general guide, if you can reduce your mortgage interest rate by at least one point and you’re not planning to move in the next few years, renegotiating your mortgage might make sense.
Mid-year is also a great time to check your credit score and look for inaccuracies or signs of identity theft. You can visit annualcreditreport.com to get your free report from the three major credit bureaus. If your credit score is low, use the remainder of the year to reduce your dependence on credit and pay down your loans to start improving your score.
Paying attention to these five areas will help you determine where you should focus your financial energy for the rest of the year. By doing some proactive mid-year planning now, you’ll be in great shape come year end.