We’re halfway through the year already. (Where does the time go?) This is the perfect time to check in on your progress when it comes to those financial goals you set in January.
Even though six months can fly by, so much can happen during this time and your circumstances are bound to change throughout the year. Whether you have to shift your focus, get remotivated, or update your budget after some big changes, doing a mid-year financial checkup can be quick and painless.
Here’s how to get started along with what you should go over.
Start With the Elephant in the Room
What were the big changes in your life over the past 6 months, and how did they affect your finances? Did you get a new job, have a baby, or experience an income increase or decrease?
Review the financial goals you set in January, and give yourself a progress report. For example, if you said you wanted to pay off $10,000 this year, you should probably have paid off $5,000 of debt mid-way through the year.
If you haven’t met your goals, give yourself a recommendation regarding what you can do differently. If you’re right on track or ahead, acknowledge your progress and make any necessary adjustments.
Monitor Your Budget
My husband and I are trying to pay off some debt this year and said we weren’t going to do any travel this summer as a result. However, we keep getting presented with opportunities to take small trips.
It’s tempting, but during our mid-year financial checkup we decided to pass on some of those opportunities and even pick up some extra work to accelerate our progress since we are a little behind.
To really make progress and hit out goal by the end of the year, we realized that we’re going to have to monitor and rework our budget. I recently went through each line and started cutting out expenses.
We reduced our grocery budgeted amount. I canceled my gym membership and will just work out at home. I hadn’t gone to the gym in a while so when my financial checkup came around, I knew it was time to get rid of my membership. Another thing I did was put my drum lessons on hold so we could have a better cash flow over the next few months.
Review Your Retirement Accounts
Check to see if you’re on track to max out retirement savings if that’s your goal. Your mid-year financial checkup is also the perfect time to check your 401(k) balance, IRA performance, etc.
I try to avoid reviewing my retirement account every month since I basically have everything on autopilot. Plus, it’s kind of nerve-racking to watch everything go up and down.
Still, this is something you should do at least once or twice per year. Don’t forget to check your fees as well to make sure you’re not overpaying for management.
Review Your Tax Withholding at Your Employer
No matter how long you’ve been with your employer, this is super important to do from time to time. You may even want to make changes if your situation or family size has recently changed.
My husband recently started a new job and had received a few checks before he realized that the employer was not deducting federal taxes. We had an issue with this in the past and didn’t address it until it was too late and turned into a major tax mistake.
This time, however, we were very attentive and sought out answers immediately. As it turns out, my husband filled out his withholding information incorrectly during onboarding. This just goes to show you how important is it to check up on these things from time to time.
Compare Salary Estimates For Your Position
Getting paid is always fun, but knowing that you’re being underpaid can leave a bad taste in your mouth. Checking up on your salary is easy to do and should be added to your mid-year financial checkup because you want earn more as your experience and the economy grows.
If you do any contract or freelance work, these sites are also helpful as they gather income information from other contractors. Your findings may prompt you to negotiate a raise during your annual review or increase your rates. If that happens, be sure to add the extra money to your budget and use it wisely.
Update Your Insurance Information
Insurance is an important part of your financial house. You want to know that you have the proper coverage for life insurance, disability insurance, as well as homeowner’s insurance.
If you’ve recently gotten married or had a child, be sure to update your insurance beneficiaries and accounts accordingly.
If you’ve bought a house with a mortgage, you may want to increase your coverage as well as if you have quite a bit of student loan debt.
While you should be properly managing your finances all year round, a mid-year financial checkup is the perfect time to consolidate some of your maintenance tasks so you get cover all your bases at once.
Make a checklist and choose a day or time where you can knock everything out at once. It probably won’t take long once you get started. Plus, you’ll feel so accomplished once you’re finished.