Use this checklist to make sure you’re making the most of your money this summer and beyond:
- Review your current accounts to make sure they still fit your needs. Look at the features you use the most and the fees you’re paying. Ask if you can do better. Start by going to your bank’s website or speaking with a customer service representative.
- Sign up for automatic savings. Paying yourself first is one of the fundamental steps of building a strong financial future. When you get paid, put a portion in savings through direct deposit or automatic transfer. What you don’t see, you don’t miss!
- Reduce your interest expenses. Review your debt to make sure you are working toward eliminating it. Reducing or eliminating the debt can boost your credit rating and improve your monthly cash flow. It’s generally best to pay off debt with the highest interest rate first.
- Check your insurance levels. As life changes, so do insurance needs. Take some time to review your different insurance policies such as health, life, disability, homeowners and auto, to make sure you have enough coverage to safeguard you and your family while at the same time not paying excessive premiums. Remember, some insurance gets more expensive as you age, so there’s no reason to wait to review your options.
- Review your beneficiaries. Make sure the named beneficiaries on your 401(k), IRA and life insurance policy are up to date. Experts suggest reviewing your life insurance coverage and beneficiaries every year and after every major life event. That way you can be sure that the policy will provide adequate protection for your loved ones after you pass away.
- Consider your retirement savings. Experts recommend saving at least 10 percent of your income for retirement. If your work offers a retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan that deducts money from your paycheck, join it. Most employers match up to $0.50 on each dollar you contribute. The matched amount is free money!
- Check your credit reports. Check for errors or incomplete information that could prevent you from getting the best deals on credit cards, mortgages or other loans. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Although you can ask to receive copies from all three credit bureaus at the same time, you also can spread out your requests throughout the year to check for major changes or inconsistencies.
These tips are provided by Iowa State Bank in partnership with the Iowa Bankers Association. If you have specific questions, contact your local banker at Iowa State Bank. Iowa State Bank is an Equal Opportunity Lender. Member FDIC.