If there’s one thing everyone wants, it’s more time – and that’s exactly what we have this year. A once every four-year phenomena of the calendar known as Leap Year is providing us with 24 extra hours Feb. 29.
For some, the day will come and go with little to show for it. However, with a little forethought, you can use the extra hours to make a difference in your financial life.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and MMI urge you to dedicate this gift of time to tackling the financial tasks they you may have been putting off.
- Prepare federal income taxes. Gather all 1099s, W-2s and receipts related to eligible deductions. Whether filing on your own or through a professional, these items will be needed to prepare an accurate return.
- Create or organize a home financial center. Because you already have your financial documents on hand, it’s time to create files for each category. This step will help keep you stay organized all year long, and will make preparing next year’s tax return a much simpler task.
- Review all insurance policies. The time to become familiar with insurance policies is not when you make a claim. Insurance is not something to buy and forget, because oftentimes life-changes dictate adjustments to the policy. So make an appointment with your insurance provider to confirm that your current needs match your coverage.
- Review retirement contributions. Due to the payroll tax cut, working Americans now have extra money in their paychecks. The best use of this money could be increasing your retirement contribution at work. Make sure to maximize the benefits of employer-match and age-related allowable contribution increases.
- Request your credit report. Consumers are very interested in their credit score – and with good reason. However, you may not realize that your score is based on the information in your credit report. Despite the fact that you can request free copies of these reports though AnnualCreditReport.com, the NFCC found that 65 percent of Americans had not ordered their credit report in the last 12 months.
Utilizing the extra time afforded by Leap Year to accomplish these five financial moves will help you to wake up March 1 with a well-earned sense of accomplishment. The efforts you put forth on this bonus day will yield worthwhile rewards throughout the year.
Remember, if you need help putting your financial house in order, MMI counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so schedule your free counseling session today!
Money Management International is a member of the NFCC. The NFCC is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization. NFCC Members annually help over three million consumers through close to 800 community-based offices nationwide.