Welcome to Week 1 of MarketWatch’s Spring Clean Your Finances! We are excited to have you on this journey with us, and we hope that at the end of the four weeks, you feel more confident and confident in managing your finances throughout the year. It might even save you some money. We will post on Instagram and in our Personal Finance Daily newsletter (sign up here), so please follow and tag us on social media @MarketWatch to show us how you are doing.
The first week of this challenge is all about the basics. We’re starting slowly, but even these simple steps can help set you up for success. Your first task: Log into all of your financial accounts. Do you know exactly how much you have in the bank and in any investment or retirement account? You may have forgotten some of your passwords, or even opened an account. This is the perfect time to determine your starting point and take a few minutes to organize your financial picture. Research has shown that the most likely time for people to review their financial accounts is when they expect good news. But accepting our anxiety and reviewing our full financial picture, even when it‘s not as optimistic as we’d like, helps us stay on track and avoid any fees we may incur for keeping our accounts low or negative. . Develop a plan to check your accounts more regularly in the future. Pick a time and write it on your calendar. Can you check all your accounts at least once a week? That is a great place to start. This is great preparation for your second task: Check your retirement accounts, if you have them. Are you aware of the retirement services your employer offers as a match from the company for the money you contribute? More than 97 million Americans have access to an employee-sponsored retirement plan, so chances are you’re one of them. Are you contributing enough now to get the full complement of your business? If not, consider increasing your contribution, if you can fit it into your current budget. If you’re not sure how much you should contribute, plug your current contribution into a retirement calculator, like this one from MarketWatch. That should help you a lot. Once you’ve done this, relax! Then find a time when you can do your third task: Evaluate all your subscriptions Do you subscribe to multiple streaming services? How about membership clubs, like gyms? Have you ever signed up for a professional service like a software product and completely forgot about it? Take a look at your most recent credit card statement, which should only take a few minutes. Are there recurring charges that you don’t recognize? Take a few minutes to decide if there are any that you no longer use and want to get rid of. There are even some services that will negotiate your bills for you (for a fee). If you want to keep some of your subscriptions but wonder if you can lower the price, call those companies yourself or outsource to a company like BillShark, TrueBill, or BillFixers. You are making great progress! Lastly, make a plan to monitor your finances more regularly. Pick a time of day to continue checking in and checking your balances. It’s easy to avoid your money, but once you get some momentum, it will be less scary to sign up once a week or once a month. Ready to go? We’ll be here to help you throughout the week, so if you have any questions about completing these tasks, reach out to us on Twitter or Instagram at @MarketWatch. We will be checking to see how it goes! While we have it, don’t miss today’s top personal finance stories Unlike previous recessions, women are hit the hardest by the COVID recession Men, research published Monday suggests Read MoreAmericans Think Better to Invest in housing than in the stock market: here’s why Americans’ attitudes about where to put their money have changed during the course of the pandemic Read more Should the United States donate doses of the COVID vaccine to less wealthy countries? Some want to wait until all Americans who want to can get vaccinated. “Despite some doubts among a minority of the sample, many respondents recognized the importance of closing the gap.” The IRS wants to know everything about your Bitcoin holdings, and this subpoena is a reminder that there is a problem with crypto transactions that go unreported, the tax collection agency says. read more