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Tuesday, Apr 15 2014 02:00 PM

PAUL ANDERSON: When spring cleaning, don't forget your finances

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    Paul Anderson is an investment advisor and partner at Moneywise Wealth Management.

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BY PAUL ANDERSON Contributing columnist

Around springtime, my garage begins to show signs of needing organizing after having a winter of items haphazardly moved to the garage, sometimes barely leaving us room to park and walk into the house.

Spring cleaning gives us the opportunity to start fresh and rid ourselves of the extra things we don't need, along with a good cleaning and organization of the things we do need.

Spring cleaning should also extend into our finances. Consider the four items below as part of your financial spring cleaning to get your financial home in order.

Review insurances

You should review your auto, home, life and health insurance annually. Do you understand and are you getting the most out of your coverage? Review any discounts or savings to which you may be entitled. Evaluate and adjust your deductible and coverage, if needed, to better fit your needs. Getting quotes from other insurance companies could also lead you to find some great savings for the same coverage.

Renegotiate services

Review each service you pay for on a monthly basis to look for promotions or plans that may equal savings. TV and cell phone services have gotten more aggressive recently as prices have become more competitive. If a company thinks you may be jumping ship for their competitor, new plans and promotions are often offered to keep you as a customer.

Cancel unused auto-debit services or subscriptions

Most subscription services offer the convenience of a monthly auto debit to keep your service active. This can also keep you a paying customer long after it has outlived its usefulness. Review your checking or credit card accounts for any of these services that you have lost interest in.

Are you paying for a Hulu or Netflix account that you never use? Do you have a subscription to Consumer Reports or another online magazine that you no longer read? Many of these services cost less than $10 a month but add them up and annualize the cost and then imagine what you could do with that money that would bring you more satisfaction than services you don't use.

Evaluate checking and credit card accounts

It is easy to feel loyalty to a bank that you have been a member of since you were 16 or the department store credit card that has been used to buy such amazing shoes over the years. Loyalty can be a good thing in relationships but when it comes to your finances, loyalty can keep you tethered to a bank or credit card that has way too many fees or high interest charges that far exceed the value you get from them. When it comes to banking and credit, loyalty to your own financial well-being should come before a financial institution every time.

It is always a good time to ask for fees to be removed or interest rates to be lowered so the relationship works for both of you. If after reviewing the big picture and you find it makes more sense for you to change your bank or credit union, don't hesitate to make the move.

So in the next few weeks as you clean and organize the garage and backyard and rid it of unnecessary items, take the time to spring clean your finances too. My guess is that you'll find enough savings to pay down your debt, add a little to your retirement or even buy more things that can eventually end up in the garage to clean out next year.

Paul Anderson is an investment advisor and partner at Moneywise Wealth Management. He is also a host of the Moneywise Guys radio program on KERN 1180 weekdays 10 a.m. to noon. His email is Paul@moneywiseguys.com and website is www.MoneywiseGuys.com.

Advisory Services offered through: SCF Investment Advisors, Inc. Corporate Office: 155 E. Shaw Ave. #102 Fresno, CA. 93710 800-955-2517. These are Anderson's opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian or SCF.

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