But if you’re like many Americans, it’s more important to focus on spring cleaning your finances this year.
Why, you ask?
According to a nationwide survey conducted by LearnVest and Chase Blueprint®, about 50% of U.S. adults between the ages of 25 and 54 regularly worry about money—and 40% feel that they lack control of their finances.
Given these eye-opening stats, we asked five experts to share their best advice for getting your finances in shape this spring—from educating yourself about money to starting the journey toward being debt-free.
Money Spring Cleaning Tip #1: Get Everyone on the Same Page
Monica Kaden, an accredited senior appraiser and principal at Fischer Barr & Wissinger, LLC, says that spring cleaning needs to start with dividing up the workload. “Typically, in a couple or a family, there’s one person who handles the household finances,” she says. Her advice is to have the other spouse—and even older children—sit down with the person who handles the bills, budget, and important financial documents, so that multiple people are knowledgeable about the household’s finances.
This way, family members can bounce ideas off of each other for reducing spending and finding room in the budget for more savings. Kaden suggests making a checklist of the family’s finances—including the budget, bank and investment accounts, where important documents are stashed, and a balance sheet—that everyone can reference, and then figure out who will take care of each task. Even teenagers can help by managing their own checking accounts or researching college loans.
Money Spring Cleaning Tip #2: Take Inventory of Your Possessions
Getting organized is half the battle when it comes to spring cleaning. If your home was to succumb to a fire, earthquake, flood or other catastrophic event, would you be able to account for everything—including how much you paid for the big-screen TV and your favorite leather armchair—so your insurance company could properly reimburse you?
“Insurance companies try as hard as possible to pay out the least possible,” Rachel Sanborn, a certified financial planner at LearnVest Planning Services, says. So it’s important to keep a record of the items in your home—particularly the most expensive ones—including photos of the items and their receipts.
Some websites offer online checklists to help guide you in creating your inventory. Sanborn even found an iPhone app—Know Your Stuff—for tackling this task. Added tip: Be sure to store a copy of your final inventory in a spot that’s readily accessible outside your home, like an online Google Doc.