Five Steps to a Mid-Year Financial Checkup

Wednesday, July 28, 2021
   
glasses sit on top of a notebook with a computer in the background

In June and July, it’s a good idea to check your yearly financial plan and see how you’re doing as the year hits its midway point. By taking a look at what you’re spending and what you’re saving, you can get a better idea of whether you’re on track to meet your financial goals at the end of the year. You can also see where you’re struggling and make changes to your habits before the year draws to a close.

Doing a mid-year checkup doesn’t have to be a pain. In fact, by breaking it down and taking it one step at a time, it can be a stress-free process.

1. Revisit Your Budget

Setting a budget is an integral part of maintaining your financial well-being. By crunching numbers and knowing what you can spend, you’re more likely to reach your financial goals at the end of the year.

If you didn’t make a budget at the start of the year or need help, La Cap members can access KOFE’s free budget-building resources. Even though the year is halfway over, it’s not too late to create a budget for yourself.

If you made one in January, now’s the time to check to see how you’re doing. Have you stuck to your planned spending and savings, or are your expenses bigger than you budgeted?

If you’re not meeting your budget goals, that’s OK. You might need to make some adjustments in your spending and savings. Now’s the time to do it.

By reviewing your budget, you can make better financial decisions and be on track to meet your goals this year.

2. Check Your Savings

Ideally, savings should comprise 10-15% of your income. However, it is possible to miss the target sometimes. A mid-year checkup helps you re-think your expenses, make new adjustments, and ensure that you make up for the lost savings.

This review isn’t just limited to your personal savings accounts. Remember to check your traditional and Roth IRAs and retirement accounts like a 401(k) and 403(b).
If you can, take time to meet with a trusted advisor who can help you plan for the future.

3. Check Your Credit Score

A healthy credit score is important for your financial standing. You should check your credit score at least once a year so you know where you stand and you can be aware of any fraudulent activity.

Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to request your free credit report from the three major credit bureaus.

If your score has gone up, you’re doing great! If it’s dropped, take the necessary steps to fix your score. Paying bills on time, repaying debts and lowering your credit utilization rate by paying with plastic less often can help raise your score. Checking your credit score now also alerts you to any erroneous changes, which you can contest with the Federal Trade Commission.

4. Evaluate Your Emergency Fund

If there is anything the past year taught us, it’s that we all must be financially prepared for emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the economy, shut down businesses and increased unemployment, leaving many people with a loss of income.

During your mid-year checkup, take a look at your emergency fund to make sure you have enough money to cover an unplanned event. The amount of money you need will vary from person to person. However, financial experts recommend having enough on hand for at least three months of living expenses.

5. Tackle Your Debt

This step is the hardest, but it’s crucial. If your debt has grown since January, it’s time to take action.

There are two ways to tackle debt. With the debt snowball method, you pay as much as you can each month toward your smallest debt while paying only the minimum due on your other debts. After you pay off the first debt, tackle the next smallest, and so on until you reach the largest.

The debt avalanche method is another way to tackle debt. You pay off your debts with the highest interest rates first, paying only the minimum on your other debts, then moving on to the next highest, and so on. This method requires more discipline, but it will save you more money in the long run and help you pay off debt faster.

Congratulations, you just completed your mid-year financial checkup. Whether your finances passed with flying colors or not, kudos for taking the time to assess them. You may have discovered some overspending, more debt or something else. You can now make necessary changes to get your plan back on track.

Discover More Financial Tips

Want more tips on how to get your finances to where you want them to be? Check out KOFE’s financial education tools. These resources are free for La Cap members and can help you tackle a range of issues, from low credit scores to student loan debt.

KOFE FINANCIAL EDUCATION RESOURCES