As we start off the New Year, many have committed to taking time this year to get financially fit. Whether it is saving more money, improving your credit or resolving debt issues, the first step is getting started.
Tackling your finances can go way beyond completing important financial documents or getting your taxes filed on time. Having financial clarity is a state that sometimes gets away from us when our financial life crosses into the unknown, i.e. change. So how do you get or maintain that financial clarity you need to organize your financial life?
Visualize your goals: See yourself reaching your goals and how you will feel once you do so. If you want to build a larger emergency fund, imagine the feeling of security you will have once you accomplish it, or if you would like to purchase a home, drive down the street you want to live on and see yourself in that home. These little steps can help you on days when you need a little extra encouragement!
Protect against identity theft: We all love the latest, smallest gadgets: iPod, Nook, iPad etc., but realize that these gadgets contain vital information on important contacts, lists, banking and hotel information, etc. You need to change your passwords every six months. It’s a must and no passwords that are easy to figure out. Imagine if someone got a hold of all of your personal information…it would be a major setback.
Make sure you actually review all of your monthly statements. We complete so many transactions online now that the need for paper statements might seem unnecessary, but this should serve as a good check and balance for your accounts. You should carefully review each statement and make sure all your transactions add up, if anything is out of order, contact the company immediately.
Have adequate insurance. An accident or breakdown can be a blow to anyone’s budget. The best way to contain this is to have adequate insurance. That means home, health, auto, life insurance and even travel insurance. Be sure you understand what your policy covers and set deductibles that you know you can afford in the event you have to use it.
Expect the best, but plan for the worst. Whenever there is a life change marriage, birth, divorce, home purchase etc., review the beneficiaries on your accounts and update your will. This should go without saying, but please prepare a will, it will make life so much easier for your family.
Get help if necessary. If getting started is daunting, get help from a reputable financial advisor. They set you up with a plan and then you can keep it going.
Black Enterprise columnist Jennifer Streaks is a Financial Expert, Author & Pundit. Continue the conversation by following her on twitter @jstreaks or going to her website www.JenniferStreaks.com.