For many, 2020 changed the physical location of where we work. If you're spending more time at home these days because you're working remotely, now is a perfect time to complete a few tasks on your financial to-do list.
1. Use your stimulus check wisely.
If you’ve received your check, you may be wondering how to best use the windfall.
- First, make sure you can cover your essentials, like housing payments.
- If you have funds left over, cushion your emergency fund for next month’s needs (we recommend 3 - 6 month’s cash, but any bit helps).
- Finally, if those are covered, use it to pay down high-interest debt, like a credit card, personal loan or medical bills.
2. Get your will done.
Get your last wishes on paper - *especially* if you have children. Create your last will and testament online using websites like LegalZoom. These services can help you cover the basics like naming a guardian to care for your children if you can’t. (You may even get this benefit provided through work, so ask your HR team!)
Bonus Tip: Check your beneficiaries. Life events such as a marriage, divorce, death, and birth all warrant a second look to ensure your retirement savings, life insurance proceeds, and any annuities are going to the right person(s).
3. Open an online savings account.
Consider using an online savings account for your emergency fund. These pay more interest per month (current APY ~1.1%) than a traditional bank’s savings account. Check bankrate.com to explore options. Like any bank, confirm that it is FDIC insured.
4. (Temporarily) lower your insurance premiums.
Use this time to make money-saving calls to stretch your budget. For example, if you are working from home, you can probably lower your auto insurance premiums by reporting your decrease in annual mileage usage.
5. Talk about it.
With everyone at home, this may be the opportunity you’ve been looking for to share financial goals and expectations with your household. With budgets and cash savings being tested, it’s important to make sure you’re on the same page with the folks sharing your roof and/or wallet. Think about using this extra time together to have a family conference to talk about what excites, scares, and motivates you about money - it could be that you’re not the only one thinking it.