Summers can be relaxing with family activities, travel and vacations. While you may be looking forward to enjoying a slower pace this summer, it is not a time to neglect your finances – especially this year.
Before you slip into your summer routine, here are some issues to consider:
Low Interest Rates on Borrowing
With rates at such low levels, you may want to consider refinancing your home mortgage. While rates have moved up somewhat since record lows, you owe it to yourself to investigate whether it makes sense to refinance to a different type of mortgage (ARM or 15 year) to match your mortgage with your needs.
Rethinking Your Retirement Plans
The decline in the stock market from 2000 to 2002 eroded the value of many retirement accounts. Without an assured recovery in the value of your investments, the only guaranteed way to have more money for retirement is to save more while you are still working. Be sure to take advantage of all the retirement plan options offered by your employer. Then, consider contributing to an IRA to save even more.
Putting Your Finances on Auto-Pilot
- Establish a regular savings program by having $500 (or some other amount) transferred from your checking account into a savings account every month. Periodically move those funds into your investment portfolio.
- Have your mortgage and credit card payments made automatically from your checking account.
- Set up a “dollar cost averaging” purchasing program for mutual funds.
- Save for a child’s college education with an automatic transfer into a special savings account.
Making a few decisions and taking a few actions now can help you reach your long-term financial goals and enjoy the summer even more.