5 Ways to Get Organized in the New Year

5 Ways to Get Organized in the New Year

A new year is a great opportunity to get organized! Below is a list of some things that you should be doing every year. Planning to do them at the beginning of the year is a great way to set a date and get this done. Most of these are small tasks to do, so just get them out of the way and feel good that you’ve checked the box and are set for another successful year.

-Freeze your credit: Check that your credit has been frozen to restrict access to your credit report, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Look at all three credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Note that if you’re currently applying for a credit card, getting a loan, or refinancing, leave your credit unfrozen until that process is completed.

-Review your credit report: While you’re checking your credit has been frozen, pull your free annual credit report from each of the three agencies and review it to make certain all the information is correct. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com. Thanks to the CARES Act you can check your credit reports for free weekly until April 2021. Get out your credit cards and store cards and match them up to the open accounts listed. Is there one you don’t recognize? Addresses listed that aren’t yours? You’ll have a chance to correct any errors by filing a dispute.

-Review your insurance: Do you need to increase or decrease your insurance coverage? Review your policies. You may want to make a change to your home, auto, or umbrella coverage if you’ve had any of the following: home remodel; teenagers driving; insured art, jewelry, or collectibles which haven’t been appraised in a few years; or property, insured art, jewelry or collectibles which have been sold. Also, don’t forget to check on your life and disability coverage as things may have changed necessitating an increase, decrease or change of beneficiaries

-Take inventory: Utilizing a home inventory list will help you file an insurance claim in case something happens to your property. Delete assets that you no longer own and add newly acquired property. You might have this on an app or in a spreadsheet, but however, you keep it, keep your list up to date.

-Review account beneficiaries: Check your retirement accounts and verify who is listed as primary and contingent beneficiaries to make sure it is still according to your wishes. This is particularly important if you’ve recently gone through a divorce or tied the knot. Check all other beneficiaries for the following accounts as well: Insurance policies, Bank accounts for TOD (Transfer on Death) or POD (Payable on Death), Annuities, and your Revocable Trust. Note: if you have a special needs trust, be sure to list the trust—not the individual.

Ideally, you’d make these updates at the time the changes happen, but we all know how easy it is to delay and forget. Add these tasks to your calendar as a reminder and be sure to review each of these items annually to protect yourself and your family and give yourself the peace of mind you’ve address all changes that may have happened over the year.

Cynthia Flannigan
Cynthia Flannigan

Cynthia made the shift to financial planning to guide clients through making good financial decisions through both grim and exciting changes in life. More than anything, she thrives on helping people. She obtained her CFP designation in 2008 and completed a masters in financial planning and taxation at Golden Gate University.

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