April is Financial Literacy Month, which makes it a great time to revisit the basics. These tasks can help you make sure you’ve got your financial bases covered (checked that credit report in a while?) while also helping you get a leg up on some seasonal goals (like putting a “sold” sign on that home you’ve been eyeing). Here are five ways to improve your finances in April.
ASSESS YOUR LIFE INSURANCE COVERAGE
While there’s never a wrong time to get life insurance, it does make sense to revisit your coverage when you have a major life event, such as getting married, buying a home or having a child. If any of these big events are on the horizon, a financial advisor can help you determine how much coverage you’ll need. If you’re looking to understand the basics of how life insurance helps protect your family, check out our life insurance guide.
BOOST YOUR RAINY DAY FUND
Much the way you wouldn’t want to get caught in an April shower without an umbrella, you also don’t want to be unprepared for financial emergencies. One way to avoid going into debt when a surprise expense pops up is to have a well-stocked emergency fund. As a general rule, you want about six months’ worth of expenses saved somewhere that’s easily accessible, like in a savings account. If you need to start an emergency fund or give your existing one a boost, consider setting up automatic transfers from your checking account until you reach your savings goal.
CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORTS
We’re a quarter of the way through 2021 — have you checked your credit report yet? During the pandemic, each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) are letting you request a free credit report each week at AnnualCreditReport.com.
If something looks amiss and you want to dispute an error on your credit report, be sure to start the process sooner rather than later. An error can result in an unnecessary ding to your credit score and could take some time to correct.
PREP FOR HOME COSTS
We finally made it to spring, and the change in seasons brings a change of scenery — maybe even in the form of a new home for your family. If you’re looking to upsize this homebuying season, make sure you know how a bigger home affects your budget. Or, if your desired move involves a new zip code, here’s what to ask if you want to relocate and work remotely. Either way, this financial moving checklist will help you tie up loose ends. And if you’re planning on staying put but still want to spruce things up, consider these low-cost interior design ideas you can do in a day.
LOOK AT YOUR FAMILY FINANCES
The latest coronavirus relief package passed last month and if you have one or more kids, you’ll want to pay particular attention because the bill contains provisions that will impact your taxes. Here’s more about what's in the American Rescue Plan Act for parents.
If one of your goals is to grow your family this year, you’ll also want to do everything you can to get ready before your new bundle of joy arrives. This guide on how to financially prepare for a baby in nine months as well as our financial planning checklist for a growing family can help.