October means Halloween decorations, playoff baseball and everything pumpkin. And if you’re one of the lucky ones, you get to experience changing leaves and cooler temps — the perfect kind of weather, in our opinion. After you’ve finished the raking and had your fill of pumpkin spice lattes, take some time this month for a financial check-in. Here are five ways to improve your finances in October.

  1. CELEBRATE FINANCIAL PLANNING MONTH

    While October is best known for Halloween, it’s also when Financial Planning Month occurs. While we don’t typically hand out candy to mark the occasion, it’s a good time to consider putting together a financial plan, putting your plan into action or even just checking in on it.

  2. HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT MONEY

    When developing or updating your financial plan, it never hurts to get your inner circle involved. For example, if you’re in a relationship, while you may not be comfortable having “the money talk” with your partner right off the bat, it’s always better to know you’re on the same page sooner rather than later.

    Talking about money doesn’t have to be limited to adults; it can be a family affair if you have kids. You can get them involved by having an educational game night or, if they're a bit older, you can start teaching them good money management habits.

    And of course, there’s always the conversation about money with yourself — which can sometimes be the hardest, especially if you’re just starting out on your own financial journey.

  3. MAKE A PLAN FOR YOUR DEBT

    With the end of the year quickly approaching, October is a good time to revisit the goals that you set for yourself toward the beginning of the year, such as paying down debt. And with 2020 upending things as much as it has, you certainly wouldn’t be alone if you find you need to make some adjustments.

    As a reset, consider reading up on some different debt paydown strategies or options for consolidating that you could help you pay your debt down faster. And if you have student loans and are considering deferring them, there are pros and cons you should know.

  4. PREPARE FOR OPEN ENROLLMENT

    With colder weather just around the corner, taking care of your health should be the utmost priority. One way to do that is to get yourself ready for open enrollment — the period when you can sign up for or change your health insurance for the subsequent year. Make sure you fully understand your choices, as it can pay off for both your health and your wallet.

  5. START THINKING ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS

    Seems a bit early for the stores to be decked out for the holidays, right? But hear us out: Experts predict that holiday shopping may begin earlier this year. And while the possibility of Black Friday crowds remains to be seen, you may be tempted to do all of your shopping online. If you do, make sure you know how to protect your financial health from cybercriminals. By getting your shopping done ahead of time, you’ll avoid the last-minute holiday rush so you can, dare we say it, enjoy the waning moments of 2020.

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