It’s spring: the snow is melting, the birds are chirping, the first flowers are peeking up in your gardens. And whether by instinct or habit, most of us are eager to clean the winter blahs out of our homes and start fresh. This year, don’t confine your spring cleaning to the domestic world – while you’re at it, give your finances a little dusting off too. Here are four great tips for some financial spring cleaning:
- 1. Get your investment portfolio in order. The market can change a lot from year to year, as can your goals and your financial situation. Does the mix of investments you chose a year or more ago still fit with your goals? Are you still comfortable with the degree of risk you took on earlier? A yearly review of your portfolio with an investment adviser is always a good idea, regardless of whether you have any changes to make.
- 2. Ditch unnecessary documents. Canada Revenue Agency recommends you keep your tax records for six years. So, each spring, after I file my tax return, I ditch the return and accompanying documents from six years ago – taking care to shred any papers containing personal information. As I switched to electronic tax filing about five years ago, my filing drawer gets less and less cluttered every year.
- 3. Tidy your credit report. If you haven’t checked your credit history lately, do it now. It’s free and easy to do by mail, or available instantly online for a reasonable fee. Contact either of Canada’s two credit rating agencies, Equifax and TransUnion. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada offers great resources to help you understand and interpret your credit report.
- 4. De-clutter your home. Clean out your closets, attic or basement. Donate unused or underused items to charity, or consider a yard sale to make a little extra cash in reward for your efforts. Whether you use this to top up your savings or treat yourself to something special is entirely up to you.
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