As many of us wait out COVID-19, sheltering in place, the financial world keeps turning. Global stock markets remain open and banks are still handling transactions. Meanwhile, at home, bills still need to get paid and our money stays in motion.
So what can you do to keep your finances on track? We believe there are several options. And while you can’t change what’s happening in the rest of the world, you can take control of your finances.
Here are eight smart money moves you can make right now, right from home:
1. Get a holistic view of your money
Have you ever seen all of your money in one place? To do this, start by making a list of all your accounts and note their balances. Make sure you include your investment and retirement accounts, too. In other words, take a full inventory of your money accounts. How much do you have in assets? What do you owe in (deep breath now) liabilities like loans and credit cards?
This is something you can easily do with free money tools like Personal Capital. Personal Capital’s financial tools allow you to link your accounts to a secure dashboard so you can evaluate your finances holistically in one place.
2. Evaluate all your bills
Consider taking a holistic look at your bills. Are there any really big bills coming up, like property tax? How much do you pay each month for things like your mortgage, utilities, car payments, and insurance? Total it up and compare it to your income to see if there are any opportunities for savings. You can also view your upcoming regular bills on your Personal Capital dashboard.
3. Consider a budget
Is it time to make a budget? Consider taking a look at your cash flow and find out. Are you saving enough? During times like these, you might have extra expenditures, so consider an emergency fund with 3-6 months of savings in it.
You can use the budgeting feature in the Personal Capital dashboard to see your spending across all of your accounts over time and look for areas you can adjust. For instance, if you’re not dining out as much right now, would it be a good idea to redirect that money to savings? (Hint: yes, it is).
4. Find places you can cut back
Where are you paying too much? Is there anywhere you can cut back? For instance, most of us aren’t driving as much right now — could you reduce or pause your auto insurance and save a few dollars? Also make sure to pause gym memberships, yoga classes, and other unused services and subscriptions during this time.
5. Consolidate accounts if necessary
Do you really need to have that many accounts? If you’ve got an old savings account here, and some old 401K’s and IRA’s there, there’s no time like now to get everything into one place and realize the potential tax benefits, lower fees, and consistent investment strategy by doing so.
6. Monitor your retirement outlook
How’s your retirement outlook? Some industries have declined significantly in the face of the global pandemic, and who knows when they’ll recover? So when can you actually retire? Will you have enough to retire when you plan to? Consider our Retirement Planner, which can help you answer these retirement planning questions.
7. Make sure your portfolio still aligns with your goals
How’s your portfolio? Not all investments moved equally during the market volatility of 2020. Now is a good time to ask: is your overall portfolio positioning still in line with your goals? Using Personal Capital’s Investment Checkup tool, you can check your current asset allocation to ensure your portfolio is properly balanced.
8. Consider professional advice
Want a professional opinion on your portfolio? A year ago, your strategy probably made sense. But a lot has changed since then. Personal Capital offers a free, one-time consultation with a fiduciary financial advisor (an advisor who’s obligated to act in your best interest.) They can give you their honest, objective feedback on your strategy and suggest ways to improve your chances of a successful retirement.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that’s been going on. But we hope these steps can help you gain control over your financial life and give you a little peace of mind in the process. Ready to make some smart money moves? Get started today at PersonalCapital.com.
Advisory services are offered for a fee by Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”), a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Investing involves risk. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. You may lose money. PCAC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Personal Capital Corporation (“PCC”), an Empower company. PCC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Empower Holdings, LLC. © 2020 Personal Capital Corporation. All rights reserved.