It’s a new year and many of us have created resolutions for what we want to accomplish in the next 12 months. We are optimistic, gung-ho, and ready to make some changes. But to be truly effective, it’s important to take a step back and review what worked and didn’t work for you in 2011. This is as true of your financial situation and institutions as it is of your weight loss and community involvement goals. Until you understand what has worked for you in the past and what has hindered you previously, it is almost impossible to move forward and make any lasting changes.
For financial goals, it seems that people either over worry about finances and obsessively reevaluate where things stand, or ignore them completely and just let things ride. However, there is a happy medium to be had which varies depending on the financial topic at hand. There are ongoing financial considerations that need to be addressed frequently such as:
- Paying bills.
- Earning money.
- Spending habits.
But there are other financial considerations that warrant less frequent review, but shouldn’t be ignored completely. For these, the beginning of the year is a great time to take a look at:
- Buying a house (or second home).
- Tax implications.
- Retirement savings.
- Bank fees and services.
- Interest rates (car loans, house loans, student loans, savings accounts, credit cards).
- College accounts.
- Insurance coverage & costs.
- Vacation destinations and costs versus vacation savings balance.
- Recurring optional expenses such as cable provider, cell phone coverage, and gym memberships.
For the past few years I’ve periodically been irritated with our primary bank. Most of my irritation stems from changes they’ve made regarding monthly fees and overdraft protection fees; however, apparently not enough irritation to do anything about it.
We do nearly all of our banking there. Our checks are set to direct deposit, our bills are set up for automatic electronic payment, and our mortgage was even bought by this bank. While I’ve been irritated, I haven’t done anything about changing banks because it just seems like too much work to reestablish all of the automatic services we have set up there. However, now that I’ve reminded myself of the importance of an annual review of financial institutions I am going to make researching my options a priority.
I am not certain that I will switch, but I do intend to research other banks’ (including Aurora Bank‘s) fees, perks, and services to enable us to make an informed decision about whether staying or switching is in our best interest. If the options are similar to what we have already, I probably won’t go through the annoyance and expense (new checks) of switching. However, if another bank will give us a significantly higher interest rate on our balances or something else appealing, then we probably will switch. Either way, I will have answered this lingering question about other options once and for all. Once and for all being until this time next year anyway. :)
What annual financial reviews are you going to do?
**This post was sponsored by Aurora Bank. All words and opinions are 100% mine, of course.