Use Leap Day to Leap Toward Your Financial Goals
CFP Board Consumer Advocate Gives Advice on How to Build Wealth with an Extra 24 Hours
For consumers who lament that they never have enough time, Leap Year provides a welcome 24 additional hours. Before settling down to catch up on TV, consumers should consider using the extra time to take inventory of their personal finances. This month CFP Board Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, provides practical tips on how to do a quick financial checkup on Leap Day.
“Once every four years, we get the gift of extra time. One of the best ways to use this extra day is to reflect on the state of your personal finances,” says Blayney. “Leap Day provides a perfect opportunity to evaluate your financial plan and take steps that will help build your wealth.”
In her latest contribution to LetsMakeaPlan.org, Blayney outlines some simple steps consumers can take this Leap Day to ensure their financial house is in order.
- Review your taxes. Spend an hour or two reviewing key tax provisions. Determine your applicable tax rates, or whether certain income streams such as Social Security or investment income are subject to extra taxes, in order to make simple and strategic tax moves that really pay off.
- Set up automatic savings account transfers. Building an emergency savings account is crucial to financially stability. You’ll have funds for an unexpected expense rather than resorting to high interest credit cards. Arrange for a portion of your paycheck to be sent directly to a savings account, saving you time and money in the long run.
- Plan your summer vacation. Use your extra day to plan out the details of a summer getaway. Last-minute plans can cost money, so get specific now about where you want to go, where you will stay, and how you will get there.
- Review your menu of employee benefits. Don’t wait for the open enrollment deadline to review employee benefit options. Doing some number crunching early on, either by yourself or with the assistance of a CFP® professional, will help ensure you select the option that best fits your needs, budget, or tax situation.
- Practice being retired. Use this Leap Day to test out your retirement lifestyle. By thinking about how you’ll spend your time, you’ll gain insight into your future spending habits, and in turn, how you may need to adjust your savings and investment strategies.
“It’s said that time is money, and this year you get 24 more hours. Spend them wisely,” says Blayney. “With the assistance of a CFP® professional, align your financial goals and choices so that you can move forward knowing you are making the most of your time and wealth.”ABOUT CFP BOARD