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How and Why You Should Do a Mid-year Financial Checkup Right Now

June 14, 2022 by Spectrum Credit Union

Did you start the year with a list of financial resolutions? Many of us do, but as the months go by, it can be easy to let up on best-laid plans. How can you reset and renew? Carve out some time for a mid-year financial checkup.

Matching intentions with reality at the midpoint of the year allows you to make some adjustments to stay on course or keep doing what’s been successful. Here are several items to put on your financial to-do list this month.

Check in on spending and budgeting

Are expenses in line with the budget you set at the beginning of the year? Which ones exceeded your plan and which ones came in under budget? Odds are that you may have experienced some cost creep, thanks to the continuing price pressure of near-record inflation. If so, recalibrate the budget according to what you’ve earned and what you’ve spent in the last few months for essentials. And then see if there are ways to relieve some of the pressure by reducing or eliminating some non-essential costs.

Manage debts strategically

Having less debt means more flexibility in the budget. But is your debt-repayment approach working in light of current events? The Federal Reserve raised interest rates in May to help curb inflation, and minutes from that meeting show that half-point hikes in June and July are likely. Rising interest rates may affect the interest you pay on credit cards, auto loans and adjustable-rate mortgages. To tackle debt strategically, make a list of your current debts and the APR you’re charged. You might see some low balances that you could eliminate quickly, and you could also focus on reducing variable-rate and highest-interest debt before rates rise again.

Visualize future expenses

As you refresh your current budget, the next step is to forecast cash flow needs for the next half of the year as well. In addition to the money needed for everyday expenses, are you expecting to make any out-of-the-ordinary outlays during the remainder of the year, such as a home improvement, new car or big trip? You can prepare for multiple goals by taking advantage of free Sub-Savings accounts, which let you keep track of savings balances apart from your Primary Share Savings account.

Evaluate your emergency fund

Along with planned expenses, did you need to tap your rainy-day fund for unplanned costs so far this year? Look back over the last half-year and see what types of unexpected expenses you had to handle. Then, if you need to replenish your account, make sure you keep those funds separate from other savings in a place you could easily turn to for spending in a pinch. A great option? Spectrum CU’s high-yield savings solutions, which give you higher dividend rates and easy access to your money.

Review savings and investments

Did you manage to hit your savings target so far this year? Do you have additional room for savings? Check to make sure you’re contributing enough to your workplace retirement plan to get the full company match. And if you’re worried about the impact of market volatility on your investments, review your accounts to make sure your asset mix hasn’t veered off track. Maintaining a diversified mix of stocks, bonds and cash — and adjusting it if necessary — is the best way to reduce risk with a blend that fits your financial situation, timeline and tolerance.

Look after your credit rating

Caring for your credit score is key to ensuring access to credit and best lending terms when you need them. Get a refresher on the best ways to keep your credit score strong. And review your credit report regularly to check accuracy; you can get a free report weekly from each of the three major reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — at AnnualCreditReport.com until Dec. 31, 2022, and annually after that.

Getting your finances in gear for the rest of the year

Summertime may be settling in, but don’t let your finances take a vacation. Getting in the habit of doing some mid-year financial maintenance is effort well-spent. Looking back at what you’ve hit or missed reaffirms your commitment to money management on your terms — and in the here and now. And the benefit of such fact-finding means your finances will be well-positioned to finish the year strong.

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