Lauren Schwahn of NerdWallet
AP – A lot can happen in six months. That’s why, as we close out the first half of the year, it makes sense to check in on your financial life.
“With inflation, I think people this year are more heavily impacted than they probably have been in many years leading up to this point,” said certified financial planner (CFP) and founder of Crest Wealth Advisors in Annapolis, Maryland, Jason Dall’Acqua. “So it’s a good time to see how things have been going … as well as plan for what lies ahead in the remainder of the year.”
So where should you start? Add these items to your midy-ear money checklist.
REVIEW YOUR INCOME, EXPENSES AND GOALS
You don’t have to tally up every penny you’ve made and spent over the last six months. But taking a few minutes to check a bank or budget app can help you better understand your finances and course-correct if necessary.
“Right now with inflation, even if you had a budget back in January, it probably is not the same as it is today. There are some things that are going to need to be changed. So it’s just really resetting and figuring out where you stand today versus where you thought you were going to stand today,” said CFP with District Capital Management Kayla Welte who lives in Denver.
Look for opportunities to scale back if you’ve spent more than anticipated. For example, you can dine out less or cancel subscription services you rarely use.
“Any excess spending that you’ve been doing, you may have to cut down to account for this higher cost of things that you absolutely have to buy,” Welte said.
If you set money resolutions or other financial goals earlier this year, check on those too. Have you saved as much toward retirement or an emergency fund as you planned? Are you on track to pay off debt?
DEAL WITH DEBT
Debt is becoming more expensive to carry due to rising interest rates. Pay down debts sooner, particularly those with variable interest rates, to save money.
These debts might include credit cards, personal loans or adjustable-rate mortgages.
Concentrate on reducing your highest-rate debt first, then move on to the next highest.
Dall’Acqua also suggested switching from variable-rate to fixed-rate options by refinancing, if possible.
“If you can lock in the fixed rate now, you’re likely to be saving yourself significantly in interest costs over time,” he said.
PLAN HOLIDAY SHOPPING
Inflation could make holiday gifts a little pricier this year. Create a shopping list and think about how much you can afford to spend.
“Figure out what that would require for you to start saving on a weekly or monthly basis and start putting that money aside right now,” Dall’Acqua said.
Don’t worry about getting everything perfect right now. As CFP in Lake Oswego, Oregon Joe Bautista said, “financial planning is dynamic, it’s not static”. Check in on your money plans periodically and update as needed.