This time of year we all clean up the yard and make sure our vehicles are ready for winter but perhaps we should also check our overall finances to make sure that they are winter ready too.
We know we should keep everything up to date but this seems to get lost in the business of everyday life. Experts suggest that we take one day a year to make sure things are current.
Now that the kids are back in school consider scheduling a full day off work with your spouse (if applicable), turn off your phones, grab a pumpkin-spiced whatever and get down to work!
1. Tidy up the paperwork – we are supposed be able to find any piece of important paperwork within two minutes. If you have collected a pile on your desk then now is the time to spend an hour or so filing it properly. Things to keep:
• government correspondence
• proof of debts paid
• bankruptcy or OPD documents
• separation agreement
2. Review your will and make sure it is up to date. Organizing your affairs properly is an amazing gift for the loved ones left behind.
3. Review your insurance policies. Do you have enough life, disability and critical illness coverage?
Disability is the number one reason for mortgage default in Canada. If you or one of your children suffer a critical illness it can quickly wipe out all savings.
None of us want to leave our loved ones unable to take care of themselves.
Is your home owner’s policy still the best for you? Changes can be made within insurance policies without us noticing until it is too late.
Assessing your coverage annually makes good sense.
(Take a lunch break!)
4. Review your finances. How is the savings plan or debt reduction strategy coming along? How are you investments performing? Having no plan is planning to fail they say so this annual look will give you the knowledge of where you need to adjust.
5. Review your borrowing. Are you in the best credit card for your situation or the one given you by default at the bank? You can negotiate the terms with your company to a lower rate and no annual fee.
How soon is your mortgage up for renewal? This is also negotiable and you should always start shopping for the best mortgage about three months before renewal.
There are all sorts of amazing professionals out there whom you can enlist to help you stay financially sound. A lawyer, accountant, financial planner, insurance broker and of course a mortgage professional are the people you need in your life. If your assessment of any of the things above requires additional guidance or changes then reach out to your circle ASAP.
And after all this is done, it is time to pour a glass of wine and celebrate that fact that you can weather the winter knowing your financial fitness is where it should be. Well done!
Pam Pikkert is a mortgage broker with Mortgage Alliance – Regional Mortgage Group in Red Deer.