It’s Time for a Financial Check-up

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stethoscope and money

We’re all encouraged to have an annual check-up with the doctor to make sure our bodies are in good health. But how often do we get a financial check-up? While it may not seem as vital as good health, financial well-being is important. Here are some areas to discuss with a BancorpSouth financial advisor as you prepare for 2018:

Your budget. Are your spending habits balanced with your income? Do you need to cut back on discretionary purchases? What are your short-term and long-term financial goals? Is your money working hard to help you reach your goals?

Emergency savings. Budgeting for known expenses is financially responsible. But are you putting money aside for emergencies, such as a job loss, home repair item, or surprise medical bill? Try saving at least six months of known expenses in an emergency savings fund.

Your debt. Review your level of debt – include everything from credit card debt to your mortgage. Are you paying down your balances regularly? If not, what spending can you cut to reduce your debts and pay more than the minimum amount on your loans? Should you refinance your mortgage or car loan to get a better rate?

Your retirement. How much are you saving annually for retirement? Is your employer matching your contributions? Does your retirement portfolio have a balance of assets, from riskier investments to safer options?

Insurance coverage. Evaluate your life insurance policy and make adjustments to your coverage based on your most current needs. You might elect to have more life insurance while your children are younger, but less when they reach adulthood. Make sure your insurance liability limits are high enough to protect the value of your current assets. You might also want to review your car insurance to see if you’re getting the best deal.

Your taxes. Are you taking full advantage of tax deductions for retirement and education savings, dependent care, medical expenses and charitable giving? Reviewing your withholdings and tax refunds could help you plan your deductions more productively.

Your credit rating. You can get a free credit report annually from www.annualcreditreport.com. Review your report for accuracy and if errors are found, notify in writing both the credit reporting company and the company involved.

Estate plans. Review your estate plans, especially if you’ve had major life changes. Make sure your will covers the distribution of assets and your end-of-life wishes. Review your chosen will executor and power of attorney. Update insurance or retirement fund beneficiaries. Make desired changes to trusts or other investments. Check that your advance health directives are spelled out.

By scheduling a financial check-up with a BancorpSouth financial advisor, you can discuss any problem areas in your financial health and set goals to improve them.