So last week we made a commitment to make changes in our life to bring us to a happy conclusion with our financial goals. It is the small steps that are actually taken that get us through the journey.
This week we have a very simple step to take and that is choosing our annual Financial Day. It can be any day that is consistent that you will remember. Your wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving, Canada Day, Ground Hogs Day … Whatever works!
The next question is what do you do on your Financial Day? Well it is a day of review and update. So much stuff can happen in one year that affect us financially or otherwise and it is a good idea to stay current. A baby is built and born in less than a year and we all know how much of an impact that has on us. But how many of us haven’t reviewed anything in years if not decades?
Go through and do a household inventory, preferably on video. Open up your closets, cupboards, storage room and highlight any new and / or valuable items. Keep the video in a safety deposit box or fire proof lock box.
Pull out your home and auto insurance policies. Are you properly insured for the full replacement value of your stuff? Do you have groupings of belongings (example: sports equipment, books, computer stuff, tools, etc) that could be worth more than $1,500? How are they protected under your policies? Do you run a home based business or bring work home? Are you covered for that? Have your driving habits or commutes changed? Do you have coverage you don’t need or do you need to increase coverage? Have you gotten all available discounts?
Review your life, critical illness, disability, group insurance, travel insurance policies. What are you covered for and for how much? Is it adequate based on your financial situation? Have you had another child or have you had a child grow up? Are you covered for what you need and not what you don’t? Has your work coverage changed?
Review your Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, and personal directives (also known as Representative Agreements in some provinces). First off do you have these documents? Can you read them and understand what you signed? Is everything still relevant? Have any of your choices for Personal Representatives, Guardian, or Trustee changed? Have you added minor children, had children turn into adults, gotten married or divorced, moved, business changes, or any other significant life change?
Look over all of your investments: RRSPs, pensions, TFSAs, RESPs, Scholarship Trusts, Universal and Whole Life policies, stocks, bonds, exempt market securities, non-registered investments, and bank accounts. Where is everything? How is it doing? Do you want to be contributing more, differently, changing your investments?
Go over your credit cards, mortgages, loans, and lines of credit. Who all do you owe money to? Do you have open and available debt that you don’t need or use? Should you be looking for a better interest rate? Could you increase the payments on any of them to get out of debt faster? Also, make sure you get your current credit reports from both Equifax and TransUnion. See where you are and what you need to fix / update to protect yourself.
The first time you do your Financial Day it will take a few hours, but after that, as long as you keep it annual, it is a relatively fast and painless exercise. It helps you know where you are standing financially, helps you prepare to meet with your financial advisor to plan for the next step in your money life, and allows you to see your positive progress.
Go ahead, pick your day, and get ready to see your life move forward in the right direction.
“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”