As we head into the last few weeks of 2018, I’m busily working with several clients – some new and many long-term. Here’s a look at some of the pieces I’ve had published lately.
I’ve written quite a bit about reverse mortgages for LendingTree this year. A recent one, Is a Reverse Mortgage Foreclosure Possible?, covers the risks homeowners take on when they take out a reverse mortgage. For this piece, I had a chance to talk to M. Reese Everson about her experience dealing with a reverse mortgage after her grandmother passed away.
If you’ve ever considered taking a loan against your 401(k) balance, hopefully you were warned about the potential pitfalls that can occur if you lose or leave your job before repaying the loan. The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 gave borrowers a little more time to repay 401(k) loans and avoid having them treated like taxable distributions, but that doesn’t mean they’re risk-free. To learn more, check out this piece I wrote for Credit Karma: Tax Reform Gives Some 401(k) Borrowers More Time to Repay.
This post originally appeared on Forbes. Although I wrote it back in January, I thought since we’re more than halfway through 2018 (!!), now would be a good time for a check-in.
With the first month of the new year nearly over, how are you doing on the goals you set for 2018? If you’re like most people, you’re already slipping or you’ve thrown in the towel completely. Maybe you just need a better way to stay on top of your goals throughout the year.
On a recent episode of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, Sabrina Hersi Issa, CEO of Be Bold Media and Venture Partner at Jump Canon, shared her method for taking stock of goals, keeping tabs on her finances and simply making time for all of the things most of us know we need to do, but have trouble making time for. It’s called a Personal Inventory Day.
Hersi Issa blocks off a day on her calendar each month and uses that day to check her credit report, look at her savings goals, review her personal budget, schedule doctor’s appointments, track progress on goals and send gratitude notes.
I loved Hersi Issa’s idea so much, I decided to reach out to a few professionals to find more tasks they would recommend for a personal inventory day.
Rhian Sharp, founder and CEO of Sharp Medical Recruiting and HR Consulting says, “One thing I recommend everyone do is a monthly ‘ego surf.’ This involves simply Googling your name to see what information comes up. If you are looking for a job or that next promotion, it’s paramount that you do this at least once a month. You really don’t want incorrect or scandalous information surfacing about you online. If you find something that’s incorrect or inappropriate, do your best to get it cleared.”
Inspect your vehicle
Dr. James Philpot, CFP and associate professor of finance at Missouri State University says, “Inspect your vehicles. This doesn’t sound financial at first, but we spend a lot of money on vehicles and transportation. Inspect your car’s fluid levels and tire inflation – the owner’s manual has directions for doing this properly. A quart of oil costs a few dollars; a new engine costs a few thousand. Proper fluid and air levels also improve gas mileage and safety. While you have the owner’s manual out, check to see if your vehicle is due for scheduled maintenance.”
Update your passwords
Alayna Pehrson, Digital Marketing Strategist at Best Company says, “I recommend you update passwords you use to access any online financial accounts. This can be as simple as switching up a few letters, numbers or even adding an exclamation point or additional characters to each password, as long as you develop a way to remember them. This will help keep your accounts secure, and as long as you’re already there, you can thoroughly review your accounts.”
Shop your insurance policies
Gerri Detweiler, Education Director at Nav, says, “One thing I do every year is shop my insurance policies. Between three vehicles, a motorcycle, a horse trailer and umbrella insurance, this is a high spend category and I don’t want to overpay. I learned this lesson the hard way. The first time I shopped around for a new homeowners insurance policy, I saved over $1,200 by switching. I wish I’d done that sooner!”
Review your memberships
Michael Foguth, founder of Foguth Financial, says, “Review your memberships. Today, everything is set to auto-renew. This includes gym memberships, entertainment, and even app purchases. Something that you set out to use regularly may not be being used as frequently as you had intended. The membership cost may only be a small amount per month, but over a year it can add up. Know when your auto-renew dates are for the month and the year so you can take full advantage of what you have paid for.”
Hersi Issa schedules her personal inventory day for the 16thof each month to coincide with her birthday day, but you can select any day that works for you. Maybe the first Wednesday or last Friday of the month? She also keeps an ongoing list of To-Do items in Evernote for her next personal inventory day. This is genius because writing things down is like unloading mental RAM – it frees up your brain, making it possible to think more clearly.
Thoughtfully managing our personal lives and finances can easily take a back seat to daily life, but if you set aside a few hours each month to give your goals some attention, you can stop feeling guilty about all of the tasks you should be doing and start celebrating your accomplishments. What tasks will you add to your personal inventory day list?
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If you’re struggling to manage credit card bills, car loans, student loans and other debt payments each month, perhaps you’ve considered cashing in on some of the equity in your home to consolidate those debts into one monthly payment with a low interest rate?