Retirement and estate planning, insurance choices, and other major financial decisions require long-term analysis, professional assistance, and family discussions. But other steps to keep your finances on track require much less brainpower … and maybe a couple passwords.
Regular check-ins on some key financial data can prevent future problems. Check out these six examples, some of which were highlighted in a recent newsletter item from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS):
1. Return to Sender? If you’ve moved recently, ensure services like DFAS or other important agencies have your current mailing address. And don’t forget your cyber-communications: If you have multiple email addresses, be sure the proper one is on file with credit cards, utilities, DFAS, and similar outlets. If not, you could miss a bill or a status report on a pending transfer request.
2. Allotments and Auto Pay. DFAS recommends reviewing allotments at least once a year. And while automatic payments for cellphone and similar services may save time, that setup makes it less likely you’ll catch payee mistakes or unexpected charges, or remember to stop payments if you’ve changed providers or stopped hitting the gym.
[RELATED: MOAA's COLA Watch]
3. Beneficiary Breakdown. Updating financial data may not be top of mind after a divorce, remarriage, or other major life event. Even if you’ve set aside time to update your Survivor Benefit Plan or TRICARE coverage information, it’s possible other accounts – insurance policies, for instance, or some investment products – may have slipped through the cracks.
4. Withholding Review. DFAS recommends this important tax step especially if you’ve moved to a different state or believe changes in tax laws could affect your financial plans. Whether you’re reviewing your myPay account, looking over your pay stub, or checking other earnings, the IRS tax withholding estimator may help with your decision-making.
5. Credit Check. Get a free annual credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. These reports can help catch identity theft in the early stages and help set expectations for mortgage rates and other loan products.
6. Savings Status. Are your emergency funds still enough to cover any emergency? Are the regular deductions from your check for retirement savings or for a college fund still making the grade? While you may not plan to access these accounts for years (if ever), don’t ignore them entirely.
Need more financial tips? Visit MOAA.org/Finance for the latest news, tax updates, upcoming webinars, member-exclusive publications, and much more.
MOAA’s Financial Calculators
Whether you’re planning for retirement, buying a home, managing your investments, or more, these tools can help you make informed decisions.