Financial Wellness Checklist: 5 Financial Tasks to Tackle NOW!

As the new year moves closer and closer, you should consider working through this financial wellness checklist to ensure financial security in the years to come.  For most people, money is in limited supply and the demands on finances are fairly high.  Gas must be purchased regularly if we want to continue driving to work and kids need to eat.  And they generally eat a LOT.  Unless you sit down to tackle a few financial tasks occasionally, you won’t truly be financially ‘healthy’.  Long term expenses like a mortgage, a child’s college education, and retirement require a lot of planning ahead of time.  Here are a few things I have on my own family’s financial wellness checklist.  I will include a few resources at the end of the post if you want more information about any of these financial tasks.  I will also include a few affiliate links for products you may find helpful as you tackle these financial tasks on your own.

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Financial Wellness Checklist: 5 Financial Tasks to Tackle NOW!

Financial Wellness Checklist

 

Make a list of your accounts and passwords: You have no idea how many people just LOSE money!  That first job you had that required you to put money in a 401K even though you didn’t want to?  You worked there for a year…not much money in it, right?  Well, after 20 years, you bet that account has some money in it now!  Create a list of all your accounts and their passwords.  Print out a hard copy and keep it in a secure location.  A fire proof safe is a great location.

Check your credit report and score:  Do you know what your credit score is?  If you plan on buying a car, a house, or taking out a line of credit for home improvement, you should know what it is.  You can check out Experian.com to get started.  There are a lot of factors that affect your credit score, including things like how many lines of credit you have open, how much debt you currently owe and whether or not you have ever been late on your payments.  You should put ‘improving your credit score’ at the top of your financial wellness checklist.

Financial Wellness Checklist 5 Financial Tasks to Tackle NOW!

Write a will: My husband and I wrote a will 15 years ago when we first had kids.  Of course, a LOT has changed since then!  I just purchased Quicken Willmaker Plus a few weeks ago and we will be sitting down after the holidays to put together a new one.  You will need to have all your account numbers available for that process, so start with number one on my financial wellness checklist FIRST before tackling your will.

Set up a budget:  This is one of my least favorite financial tasks, but it doesn’t have to be hugely detailed.  I am not the kind of person who tracks every nickel I spend during the week. You DO need to have a ballpark idea of what you want to spend in different categories.  How much will you spend on food per month?  Will you be making any charitable donations?  How much will you put in your retirement account?  I HIGHLY recommend you max out  your employer’s 401K matching donations or you are throwing away money.  Charitable donations that are made PRE TAX will help lower your tax bracket.  And pay yourself FIRST.  Put as little as $10 a week into a retirement account.  After 20 years, that money will really add up and you will most likely not even miss it from your weekly budget.

Financial Wellness Checklist 5 Financial Tasks to Tackle NOW!

Start an emergency fund:  There are often times in our lives where our financial security is at risk.  The loss of a job, a major illness, an unexpected pregnancy…. Setting up a financial wellness checklist is a great start but you need an emergency fund to fall back on.  Typically, experts recommend having three months salary in reserve ‘just in case’.  For people who are living paycheck to paycheck, it may be hard to imagine coming up with that kind of money.  However, going into debt due to a job loss is a slippery slope that leads to high-interest emergency loans and bankruptcy.  Plan ahead NOW for the emergency that may happen tomorrow.  Save a small amount every week, even if you have to ditch the cable TV and start shopping at the thrift store for your kid’s clothes.  Make those changes NOW while you still have some flexibility in your budget.

If you want to improve your financial health this year, here are a few places you may want to visit:

  • Fidelity.com has a ton of great resources on financial planning
  • US News has some great information about how to find a financial advisor if you need additional financial help
  • Kiplinger has a great household budget worksheet

I hope this financial wellness checklist has been helpful.  Tackle these financial tasks now and in a few years you will be well on your way to financial security!

What financial tasks would YOU add to this list?

 

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About Diane

Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician with two teens, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She has a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with Legos and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging full time. She currently deals with emotional tweens, suburban politics, and middle aged metabolism while sharing her opinions in an honest and down to earth fashion on her blog.

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