7 tips for getting your personal finances in order

Create an inventory of your financial information.

Angela Iermieri 1| Financial Planner | Desjardins Group

Managing our accounts and reviewing our budget and investment statements are things we often do on auto pilot. Why not get back on top of things so we can maximize our financial strategies as the new year begins? 

Here are 7 ways to improve your financial routine. 

1. Analyze your current routine 
Review what you're doing right now so you can make the most of your money:
  • Does your budget still meet your needs?
  • Are you up to date with your investments?
  • Are you staying on top of your paperwork and bills?
  • What are your best practices?
Reviewing what's working and what's not will make it clear where and how to make improvements to your routine. 

2. Identify your biggest obstacle
Everyone has their weaknesses. Impulse spending and lack of time (yes, even for retirees), discipline, interest or knowledge can limit you in taking charge of your finances. 

Identify just one area it would be helpful for you to work on so you can keep a closer eye on your finances. Once you've done that, you can move on to the next area, if you need to. 

3. Consider your budget
Would you be able to withdraw a larger amount of money for a big purchase or would that jeopardize your long-term retirement savings?

Even in retirement, you should review your budget. Market conditions can have an impact on available income.

4. Create an inventory of your financial information
You know how to access your savings, investments, insurance, will, inventory of your assets and so on. But do your loved ones have that information? 

Make a detailed list of your financial information and let your family know where they can find it. It's the best way to make estate planning easier.

5. Automate bill payment 
It's all too easy to lose track of bills now that your schedule is no longer tied to work. 

Make things easier by setting up preauthorized payments straight from your account, and you'll never have another late bill. It's one less thing for you to think about.

6. Take a look at your investments  
What's your return? Has your income increased to keep pace with the cost of living? Is it still the best investment choice for you? Is your portfolio well diversified or too scattered?

Answering these questions will help guide your decisions, as your needs may have changed.

Here's an effective approach to make sure the savings you've accumulated continue to grow:
  • Keep a close eye on your finances
  • Review your regular investment statements
  • Ask your financial representative questions 
7. Educate yourself--and others
By staying informed, you'll ask questions that will help you stay in control.

Read about finances, browse the Web to learn more and talk to your representative or financial planner--that's the key! Did you know that you can now chat with them online2? 

Have you learned any useful tips or strategies from personal experience that are worth knowing about? Don't be shy about sharing them. They'll definitely help others. 

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1 Financial Planner and Mutual Funds Representative for Desjardins Financial Services Firm Inc.
2 Check with your caisse.

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