10 Tips for Cleaning Your Financial House


Money worries are the root of so much anxiety. As part of this week’s list on self-care, we turned to financial adviser Maureen Zavatone for 10 tips on how to get your financial house in order. She specializes in working with women and here’s what she had to say:

Thinking about Spring cleaning? Reorganizing? Taking on that project that you’ve been procrastinating on for years? Consider getting your financial house in order, too. Here’s how.

We are busy!

Today, two-thirds of women identify themselves as the primary decision-maker in their home. Many of these women are also the breadwinner, earning 62% of the household income.

If you find yourself among this growing group of women, you play a vital role in managing your family’s finances – from overseeing the household budget, to paying the mortgage, to determining where to invest your savings and retirement assets.

One of the most important things you can do in creating a loving legacy for your family is to help them understand what is important about you . . . and important to you.

So, Let’s Get Organized! – Ten steps you can take to organize your financial world

  1. Start with the basics
    • Gather critical information about your family finances and take an inventory of your legal documents
  2. Know your numbers
    • What investments do you own? What do you owe?
  3. Pay yourself first
    • Make regular contributions to your 401k and other savings/investment accounts
  4. Do regular checkups
    • Review and update your plan often to stay on top of your current situation
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask
    • Work with your financial advisor to understand what you own and why.
  6. Are you protected?
    • How have you protected yourself and your family against certain risks?
  7. What’s your back-up plan?
    • Who is designated to help you in an emergency situation? Do they have the legal authority to do so?
  8. Do your yearly Spring cleaning
    • What records should you keep and for how long?
  9. Tell them what you want
    • Leave a letter with your documents that explains the what, where and why of your intentions. Provide your loved ones with clarity of your intentions that can help avoid costly and often irrevocable mistakes.
  10. Put it somewhere you can find it
    • Use a Family Records Organizer to gather important legal and financial documents and keep it in one place

Visit Maureen’s website.

Maureen Zavatone is a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Essex, CT. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC.

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