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Time for financial spring cleaning
Financial focus
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You may not engage in the typical spring cleaning, de-cluttering the attic, reorganizing your closets, touching up the paint, etc. But you can almost certainly benefit from sprucing up your financial situation.
As you survey your financial landscape, what areas might you want to tidy up? Here are a few suggestions:
• Clear your portfolio of redundant investments. Over time, you may have built a sizable investment portfolio. But if you have too many investments that look alike, you may actually be hindering progress toward your goals. After all, if you own a dozen stocks of companies in the same industry, they're all likely to be buffeted by the same economic forces. Look for opportunities to replace some of these redundancies with different securities, taking into account your risk tolerance and time horizon.
• Organize your records. If you're like those of us who file our taxes at the last minute, now is the perfect time to organize your financial records, because you've probably got them int hand. And it's not just a matter of having your brokerage and 401(k) statements in neat piles. Once you've got these documents together, you might see opportunities to consolidate accounts. For example, you may have IRAs with different banks and financial services companies. By moving them all to one provider, and possibly rolling over an old 401(k) into an IRA, you could save fees and reduce paperwork, but, more importantly, you may find that such a move helps you manage your investments. You'll know exactly what you're invested in, and it will be easier to follow a single investment strategy. Also, with all your IRAs in one place, it will be much easier for you to manage the required minimum distributions you must start taking when you turn 70-1/2.
• Review your "systematic" investments. Many years ago, you might have started systematically moving money from your checking account into an investment. But perhaps your circumstances have changed and this money could better be used elsewhere.
• Check your beneficiaries. Beneficiary designations on financial documents are important because they supersede even the instructions in your will. Over time, your family may have changed, through death, divorce, remarriage or the birth of children.
• Examine your insurance coverage. When you have a young family, you need a certain amount of life insurance to provide for some major expenses, such as mortgage, college for kids, perhaps some retirement funds for your spouse. But when your children have grown, your mortgage is paid and your spouse has decades' worth of retirement savings, your insurance needs may change. At the same time, you may find other uses for insurance. Review your insurance coverage with your financial advisor.
By following these suggestions, you can help put your financial house in order for the seasons to follow.

Cardella is a consultant with Edward Jones in Hinesville.
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