The term “spring cleaning” has its origin in the days when homes were still heated with coal. Over the winter, a fine soot would cover the interior of the house — and spring was the time of year when all that stopped, so they cleaned it all up.

While our homes may be soot- and carcinogen-free, winter is the time when our bank accounts become cluttered with fall out from the holidays — as well as other things that make us feel better in the wintry darkness. Here are some action items to add to your typical spring cleaning list: 

  • Get your nanny on the books. So many nannies and housekeepers have been unable to collect unemployment because they wanted to be paid cash. Now they’re in a bad place because there is no help for them — and if they attempt to file for unemployment anyway, the state is going to want to talk to you. Do everything above board! 
  • Consult with your financial planner. CFPs are flexible in the way they can work with you, but I think springtime is an especially useful time to meet with one to review your strategy. 
  • Look at your financial goals. Reducing your credit card debt should be one of your top priorities, and the most problematic credit card debt is for things you don’t even use. 
  • The phrase “death by a thousand papercuts” is appropriate to describe the way small, monthly debits add up. The most obvious examples are gym memberships — many of them make you come in person to cancel, which people rightfully put off doing, resulting in charges for many more months than there should be.
  • Get your will and advanced directives up to date. If you don’t have a will or if you haven’t redone your will in a long time, do that instead of getting bossed around by your cat. A few months ago I needed to update my will and I didn’t realize I hadn’t done it in so long. My kids weren’t even married, I didn’t have any grandkids. I thought I had updated it since those life events, but I thought wrong. 

I can’t stress enough how much difference a pound of prevention makes in personal finance — from supplemental insurance policies to reconciling your checking account. Hours of work by you, or worse, a professional, will teach you that lesson if you don’t take charge ahead of time. Besides, you’ll have much more fun this summer knowing that you fixed at least some of the loose ends sprouting in every direction around you. 

For help with your spring cleaning, contact us