Personal Finance 
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Set SMART Goals for a Kick Ass Year

SMARTWe’ve done two days of “reviews,” from rebalancing your portfolio to reviewing your home inventory, and now it’s time to look forward. One of the most popular past-times for the New Year is to set a New Year’s Resolution. People resolve to lose weight, spend more time with family and friends, work harder, blah blah blah. Most of the time they abandon that by early February. I know this because every year the gym is packed in January, thins out by February, and has returned to normal by March. It’s like clockwork.

One of the reasons why most people fail has to do with their goal setting. That’s why it’s important for you to set SMART goals.

This post is part of the 2011 Spring Cleaning Week!



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 Personal Finance 
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Reviewing Your Last Will & Testament

This is a guest post from Evan of My Journey to Millions.

Like life insurance, someone’s Last Will and Testament is often forgotten about for years. The documents are relegated to the back of the filing cabinet only to see the light of day after something horrible has happened. If I had to give a guess as to why, it probably has to do with the fact that those two items do not effect your day to day life such as over paying for your car insurance or having high interest credit card debt.

Part of every person’s financial review should be a re-reading of their Last Will and Testament. While I may read 4 to 8 Wills a week I can understand why reading one’s own will is not an enjoyable experience. First of all they are usually written in a foreign language known often referred to as legalese, but more importantly it forces you to think about your death and possibly your family’s death. While I can’t make the experience a better one, I can at least provide you with questions to think about when you are reviewing your Last Will and Testament.

This post is part of the 2011 Spring Cleaning Week!



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 Personal Finance 
26
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Financial Documents: Keep, Scan or Shred?

A few years ago, I had two banker’s boxes full of financial documents I just accumulated over time. Then, one day, I decided I would go through all those documents and actually decide whether I should keep, scan, or shred them. I purchased a Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 to scan any important documents and then some random crosscut shredder from Staples to shred the non-essential documents. Two bags of recycling later, I had rid my life of years of credit card and bank statements I’d never need and put all my important documents in a secure folder on my computer.

Here was my approach:

This post is part of the 2011 Spring Cleaning Week!



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 Insurance 
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Update Your Home Inventory

Home TheaterIf you watched any television during the holidays, chances are you saw (and fast forwarded through) a lot of jewelry commercials. I learned what ever kiss begins with, where “he” went to, and how long a diamond is “for.” If you bought anything sparkly this winter, chances are you’ll want to make sure it’s protected in the event it’s lost or stolen. That goes for any new golf clubs, televisions, or other big ticket items you may have purchase (if you had a December to Remember… well that’s covered by auto insurance).

While jewelry is typically insured by a jewelry rider, almost everything else is covered by your base insurance and you’ll want to update your home inventory to make sure you remember you owned it. While insurance will cover it if you can prove you own it, the home inventory simply makes it easier for you to remember and document if you need to.

This post is part of the 2011 Spring Cleaning Week!


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 Insurance 
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Review Your Insurance Policies

With many aspects of your financial life, there’s a certain amount of “set it and forget it.” In some cases it works out well, such as setting a contribution to a retirement account or establishing a savings plan that auto-transfers money from your checking account to a savings account. In other cases, it’s important to take a look at those plans every year to make sure they still make sense for your situation.

Insurance policies fit into that category and it’s important to take stock and review your insurance policies each year. A lot can change in a year and unless you take some time to review your policies, you may be surprised when it comes time to use them.

This post is part of the 2011 Spring Cleaning Week!



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 Personal Finance 
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Consolidate Your Financial Accounts

Long time readers of Bargaineering will know that in the last year I’ve been aggressively consolidating our financial accounts in a quest to simplify my finances. It seems fitting that, for Spring Cleaning Week, our second post of the series should be one about how to consolidate all the financial accounts you’ve accumulated in the last few years.

In an ideal world, you really need one checking account, one savings account, one credit card (debatable), and one brokerage account. We, of course, don’t live in a utopia, we live here. :) It doesn’t take long for financial accounts to accumulate like knickknacks on your bookcase or mantle. A change in job adds a 401(k), a change of address adds a new bank, and before long you have a dozen financial accounts you don’t even use every month with a few bucks here and a few bucks there.

While most of the battle is in just consolidating, I think that a few tips I picked up may help you in your quest.

This post is part of the 2011 Spring Cleaning Week!



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 Investing 
9
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Rebalance Your Portfolio

Welcome to Spring Cleaning Week! This is the first post of the week and something I think too many people overlook – rebalancing your investment portfolio.

Rebalancing your portfolio is important because the key to investing is establishing a plan and following it. You can’t predict the bubbles before they happen in the hopes you can buy on the upswing. You can’t predict the sharp drops in the hopes you can sell before they hit. What you can do is establish a reasonable plan, adjust it as needed, and follow it to prosperity. With that in mind, the goal of rebalancing is to get your investment reality back in line with your plan.

This post is part of the 2011 Spring Cleaning Week!



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 Personal Finance 
10
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Spring Cleaning Week

Boxes for Spring CleaningThis week we’ll be celebrating Spring Cleaning Week, a week of posts that focuses on refreshing and rebooting your financial life so that you can take on 2011 with the gusto it deserves. We’ll discuss a variety of issues that will hopefully help you shed some of the financial weight you’ve accumulated over the past year, get your finances in tip top shape for the coming year, and focus on the path forward so you can make the most of the new year.

There are a variety of things in our financial lives that require annual tweaking, just as your car needs a regular tuneup. Since spring is the traditional season for “Spring cleaning,” I thought we could get a jump on that by doing these financial Spring cleaning tasks in the winter while it’s still cold out. Once Spring rolls around, the chances you’ll want to spend your free time sitting in front of the computer rebalancing a portfolio diminishes greatly. :)

So, roll up your sleeves and get yourself ready for the week ahead!

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