9 Personal Finance Tips for Third Quarter 2021
We’re halfway through 2021, which means it’s the perfect time to check in on your financial goals and objectives for the year. Review our top 9 personal finance tips for third quarter and see what you can do now to end the year strong.
#1 Know Where You Are and Adjust Accordingly
Assess what you’ve financially accomplished year-to-date and where you are in achieving your objectives for the year.
Review your retirement and savings goals, your debt objectives, and your cash flow without judgment.
If you’re behind, don’t sweat it. Either rework your plan so you can catch up and end the year strong or revise your goals and plan accordingly.
#2 Organize Your Finances
Much like the previous personal finance tip for third quarter, this one does not require you to spend a dime. It will, however, require your time.
If you have a habit of tossing financial paperwork in a drawer (or in a shoebox in your closet ‒ you know who you are!), gather it up, and organize it.
Put tax information, such as donation and expense receipts, in one file so you’re organized come tax time. Also, create a file for investment statements, insurance, and any other important paperwork.
Not only will this exercise help declutter, but it will also lessen stress when tax time rolls around next year.
#3 Plan Now for the Holidays
While most of us don’t want to think about Christmas in July, it’s not a bad idea to take some time now to plan our holiday spending. Thanksgiving and Christmas travel, holiday gifts, and New Years – it adds up quickly if we don’t plan accordingly.
Planning early allows you to buy tickets and gifts in advance without the stress. Not to mention, it will help you avoid running out of money come early December.
Take an afternoon to plan. Create a budget for your holiday spending. If you know what you plan to buy family and friends, and you have extra to spend, go ahead and purchase your gifts now.
#4 Check on Your Investments
Knowing where you are in relation to your retirement and investment goals helps keep you on track and committed. If you aren’t contributing as much as you planned, you still have time to course correct. If you are on track, see if you can contribute more.
If you received your IRA or 401(k) statements, but have yet to look at them, dig them out of that file cabinet or junk drawer, and take a good hard look.
If you have a 401(k) and you don’t understand what you’re looking at, check out the video below on how to read and understand a 401(k) statement.
#5 Contribute More to Savings and Retirement
Stretch yourself and see if you can contribute more to both your emergency fund and your retirement accounts.
Even if you can only afford to squirrel away a few extra hundred dollars a month, it will add up over time ‒ especially if you’re contributing more each pay period to your 401(k) or IRA ‒ because of the magic of compounding.
Heck, even an extra $50 a month is better than nothing.
If you haven’t been saving as much as you wanted to this year, see what you can cut from your expenses and divert that money into your savings.
#6 Rebalance Your 401(k)
This personal finance tip for third quarter does not require you to contribute more of your paycheck or cut back on debt in order to stay on track with retirement goals.
Rebalancing your 401(k) account allocations may help you earn and keep more of your retirement savings.
Because unmanaged allocations may experience much larger losses in down markets and may miss the opportunity for growth during good markets.
We recommend rebalancing your account allocations every quarter, or four times a year.
This way, you can make the appropriate changes in order to stay on course with your goals.
[Related Read: What Every Investor Needs to Know about Rebalancing a 401(k)]
#7 Review Your Credit Reports
With the rise of cybercrimes this year, it’s advisable to review your credit report to ensure nothing shows up that’s not yours.
Reviewing your credit report and bank statements regularly may not prevent theft, but catching issues early may prevent more headaches in the long run.
Better yet, put this on automatic, and research identity theft monitoring services to notify you when your information has been compromised.
#8 Educate Yourself
We’re lucky to live in a world where access to free information comes with the touch of a button. Why not take advantage of this and become financially literate?
Don’t know how to rebalance your 401(k)? Don’t understand if target date funds are right for you? Aren’t sure how to peel away debt while saving?
#9 Seek Professional Help
This final personal finance tip for third quarter may make a significant impact on your overall financial health and your retirement savings.
It doesn’t matter how much money you have saved, how much debt you have, or how far away from or close to retirement you are.
Speaking to a third-party expert now can help you get on track and stay on track with your financial goals.
When selecting a professional advisor, it’s important to work with an advisor who has a fiduciary duty to you.
A fiduciary is legally obligated to put your needs above his/her own and act in your best interest–ahead of any brokerage firm, investment provider, or company-provided representative.
Check out our no-cost guide on The Different Types of Licenses Financial Advisors Have and What They Mean to You