Get ready for some spring cleaning for your finances
March 15, 2013
Spring is in the air — or, at the very least, it's on the calendar this week. And if you're like many people, you may be looking forward to doing some spring cleaning around your house and yard. But this year, why not go beyond your physical environment and do some "sprucing up" of your financial situation?
Here are a few possibilities to consider:
Clean your portfolio of "clutter." When you go through your house, you may find some clutter in closets, storage areas, on top of desks, under beds or just about any other place. Your investment portfolio also may contain clutter, in the form of investments that no longer meet your needs. Consequently, it's a good idea to "de-clutter" your portfolio periodically by selling those extraneous investments and using the proceeds to help purchase others that may be more effective in helping you make progress toward your financial goals.
Consolidate your investments in one place. As you clean your house, you may find that you have many common items, such as brooms, hammers, duct tape and so on, scattered among various rooms. It might be more efficient to keep all such objects in one central location; this can help prevent you from needlessly replacing or duplicating them. As an investor, you may have an IRA with one financial services provider, an old 401(k) with a different one, and some other investments with yet another institution. If you consolidated all these investment vehicles with one provider, you might be able to save some fees and expenses. Perhaps even more importantly, by uniting all your investments in one place, you may find it easier to follow a central, unified investment strategy.
Check for "gaps" in your financial strategy. Every spring, it's a good idea to check your gutters for leaks, your sidewalks for cracks and your paint for chips. By doing so, you'll help protect your home and surroundings. To help protect your family's future, it's important to have adequate life and disability insurance.
Plant seeds for growth. When spring arrives, it's time to plant the seeds for your flowers and vegetables. As an investor, you also have to be concerned about growth. Specifically, you'll want to consider investments that have the potential to grow enough to help provide the financial resources to meet your long-term goals, such as a comfortable retirement. Consequently, you should review your portfolio to determine if it contains an appropriate amount of growth-oriented vehicles for your individual objectives, time horizon and risk tolerance.
Seek professional assistance. When you're tidying up for spring, you may find some jobs that you can't do alone, such as cleaning a heavily stained carpet, unclogging a blocked drain or trimming the highest branches on a tree. For these tasks, you might need to call in trained professionals. It's the same with investing: You can do some things on your own, but for complex tasks such as creating and maintaining an appropriate investment strategy, you may need to work with a financial professional.
Consider putting these spring-cleaning tips to work soon. They may just help put some sparkle and shine into your financial "house."
Doug Drost is a financial adviser for Edward Jones, 2262 Reno Highway.