With much of the country being hit with hot temps this week, there's no denying that summer is here and in full swing. Hopefully you have some Fourth of July celebrations and/or summer travel coming up, but in the meantime, read up on these five ways to improve your finances in July.

  1. STEP UP YOUR RETIREMENT SAVINGS

    The importance of building your retirement nest egg goes beyond any one calendar month. While every bit of savings counts, the more money you put in now, the more time that money has to grow, thanks to compound interest.

    While many people use their employer-sponsored 401(k) as their main retirement savings vehicle, a 401(k) is not a retirement plan on its own. So you may want to consider opening an additional account, such a Roth IRA, to help you diversify your sources of income. An IRA can also be a good option if you’re self-employed and don’t have access to a company-sponsored 401(k). A financial advisor can help you decide what makes sense for you and your situation.

  2. SQUEEZE IN SOME SUMMER TRAVEL

    Travel is officially back. Looking to hit the road but aren’t yet ready for air travel? Here’s what to know about the costs of renting or buying an RV. Haven’t made plans but could use a PTO recharge? Check out these tips for saving money on last-minute travel. Or, if you’re more comfortable waiting until the summer crowds disperse to pack your bags, our guide to outdoor travel spots offers five destinations that work well into the fall season.

  3. CONSIDER THE JOB MARKET

    Job hunting is on the rise, with one in four workers preparing to make a move post-pandemic. If you’re thinking about switching careers, in addition to prepping your resume and brushing off your interview skills, make sure to plan ahead financially so you don’t leave money behind. For instance, do you have any unused vacation days that need to be paid out to you? How about leftover FSA dollars that you can use before you leave the company? Also, be sure to plan for any retirement funds that you’ve accrued through work. Does your new employer have a 401(k) plan that you can roll your savings into, or are you going to transfer that money into an IRA?

  4. HOME IN ON THE HOUSING MARKET

    Buying a home is never an overnight process, but with the housing market still in flux — plus the rising costs of inflation — the summer homebuying season is poised to be somewhat of an uphill battle, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. But fear not! By arming yourself with the knowledge of what can go wrong when buying a house, you’ll be able to financially (and mentally) prepare for what’s ahead.

    On the flip side, if you’re already a homeowner, take advantage of the lazy days of summer with a few home improvements and decorating ideas to increase your home’s value.

  5. TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE

    The Independence Day holiday is just around the corner. And while firing up the grill and watching fireworks is the perfect way to celebrate, take the festivities a step further with a kid-friendly chat about preparing for financial independence. And if you have (or know) a young adult who’s going to be out on their own soon, this quiz can help give them a sense of what it actually means to be financially independent.

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