You don’t need to start the New Year under pressure to make good on all the stuff you didn’t get right last year. Instead, go “easy” on the perpetual “new year, new you” mandate with one of these five-minute money resolutions for 2019.
1. Roll over your old 401(k)
“Orphan” 401(k) accounts are fairly common: A survey from A.T. Kearney found 59% of Americans had at least one from a former employer in 2017. Achieve maximum flexibility by directly rolling an orphan fund into a new employer-sponsored 401(k) or an individual retirement account. It usually just takes a phone call or two. Your old or new provider can help you conduct the transcation without incurring a tax penalty.
2. Rebalance your portfolio
Shield yourself from market turmoil by diversifying your investment portfolio. Check in with your certified financial planner or online financial adviser to make sure you have the right mix of low-to-high risk investments.
3. Check your tax-withholding
Use the Internal Revenue Service’s online withholding calculator to ensure your employer is taking enough out of your paychecks to pay Uncle Sam during the fiscal year. It’s good to do this exercise annually, so you don’t wind up owing big when it’s time to file your taxes.
4. Fill out that life insurance application
Applying for life insurance is a lot easier than it used to be. Policygenius can help you get started and walk you through the process. Step one is compare life insurance quotes across insurers.
5. Set up auto-pay
Make sure you don’t miss a bill next year by setting up auto-pay across service providers, including your insurers, cell phone servicer, cable provider and utility company. (Note: It’s still a good idea to review monthly bills for errors, new fees or upcharges.)
6. Check your credit
Even savvy spenders should check their credit every few months or so. Credit report errors happen more often than you think and can sometimes show signs of identity theft. Fortunately, it’s easy to check your credit for errors or surprises. Federal law entitles everyone to a free credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — every 12 months. You can get these reports at AnnualCreditReport.com.
7. Start an emergency fund
The easiest way to save three-to-six months of expenses for a rainy day? Open an online savings account. They tend to carry higher annual percentage yields (APYs) than accounts at traditional financial institutions. They also make it harder to tap funds for non-emergencies, since you can’t just click a few buttons and transfer money from checking to savings.
8. Create a will
Online legal sites can help you write a will in minutes. Once you’ve have the documents drawn up, you’ll just need to have them signed by two witnesses and a notary. Bonus: Use offer code “protectmylegacy” to get $10 off an estate plan with our partner Trust & Wills.
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Jeanine Skowronski is Policygenius’ editorial director. She’s also a #CrankyXennial.