We can see the flowers in bloom and the leaves beginning to reappear on the trees here in East Tennessee. We’re also reminded of the changing season as we see that pesky yellow layer of pollen on our newly washed cars. We anticipate the longer days and welcome the warmer temperatures. We are putting away our sweaters and searching for swimsuits and shorts (even if they may be a bit tighter than we remembered thanks to holiday treats at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter).
We plant flowers in our lawn beds, fill feeders with seeds for the chirping birds, and enjoy watching a loved one play spring sports outdoors. We may even do some spring cleaning and wash windows, reorganize the pantry, or clean out junk drawers.
But as you go through these rituals during the changing seasons, let’s not forget to spruce up your own investments. April is Financial Literacy Month and as the financial markets change more in value than Dogwood Winter temps, here are a few ideas to help make your financial life shine.
- Inventory your assets. Do you know where all your investment accounts are located and how they are invested? Maybe it’s an old 401k or a Roth IRA you started when you were 20 years old. With market volatility, now would be a good time to see where it is and how it’s doing.
- Update your beneficiary designations. You may have had another child, gotten married or had another life-changing event that requires looking at insurance policies and IRAs to ensure that they are going to be left to those you want.
- Evaluate your tax return. If you’ve recently filed your return, did you take advantage of all the deductions you could have in 2021? Use this time to review and plan for ways to make changes if you can in 2022.
- How’s your budget looking? As we clean out and tidy up in the Spring, it’s also a good time to revisit your budget. Are you saving enough for your goals? Are you spending more than you’re making? Use this time to ask those questions and evaluate where you are.
I often quote the three axioms of financial planning that are applicable not only in the Spring, but all throughout the year:
- Spend less than you make.
- Save as much as you can.
- Don’t do anything stupid.
As you sort through those winter clothes and wash your car (again!) because of the spring pollen, pay attention to those financial items as well. It may prove more beneficial than you think.