Time for Some Financial Spring Cleaning

Submitted by Edward JonesPrint Story | Email Story

Spring is officially here – and for many of us, that means it's time for some spring cleaning around our homes and yards. But why stop there? This year, why not do some financial spring cleaning, too?

You can apply some of the same principles of traditional spring cleaning to your financial environment. Here are a few suggestions:

• Clear your vision. Spring brings extra hours of sunshine – and to enjoy them, you will want to clean your windows, inside and out. As an investor, you also need to take a clear-eyed view of your situation periodically. Are you on track toward achieving your goals? If not, what moves can you make to get back on the right path? You need to be honest with yourself to see if you’re doing all you can to help make progress toward your objectives.

• "De-clutter" your portfolio. As you go about sprucing up your house, you may find that you have a lot of clutter. Do you really need three mops? And are you holding on to those old calendars for any good reason? You probably will feel much better about your surroundings when you de-clutter them – and the same may be true of your investment portfolio. For example, do you own several investments that are virtually identical? If so, you might want to consider ways to help diversify your holdings. While diversification can't guarantee profits or protect against losses in a declining market, it might help reduce the impact of market volatility on your portfolio.

• Recharge your batteries. When you do your household spring cleaning, you may want to check the batteries on your smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector and other devices. And as part of your financial spring cleaning,you might need to recharge your own investment "batteries," so to speak. In other words, increase the power you are providing to your portfolio. You can do this in a few different ways. First, you can increase your contributions to your 401(k) or similar retirement plan every time your salary goes up. You can also try to "max out" on your IRA contributions each year. (For 2020, you can put in up to $6,000 in an IRA, or $7,000 if you’re age 50 or older). Another way to increase your investment voltage is to make sure you have got adequate growth potential in your portfolio based on your goals and risk tolerance.

• Put your house in order. As part of your spring cleanup, you may want to check for damage on your roof, windows, siding and so on. But you also need to put your financial house in order, especially as it regards to protection. Do you have adequate life insurance? If not, your family could suffer if something were to happen to you. And have you thought about how you could pay for long-term care if you needed it? The average annual cost for a private room in a nursing home is about $100,000, according to the insurance company Genworth. To retain your financial independence – and also to help protect your grown children from possibly having to deal with these costs – you may want to explore some type of long-term care insurance.

By doing some spring cleaning around your home, you will lighten up your living space. And doing some financial spring cleaning may help you brighten your future.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial advisor. Courtesy of Rob Adams, 71 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247, 413-664-9253.. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation. For more information, see EdwardJones.com.

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Trail Conservancy Cautions Pandemic Care When Hiking

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Although most of the Appalachian Trail is still open, hikers are asked to practice common sense during the pandemic while on the trail or to just stay home.
 
COVID-19 has challenged people to find new ways to stay active while practicing social distancing and local trail volunteer Cosmo Catalano, Jr said although folks are encouraged to stay home, common sense needs to be used to maintain social distancing. 
 
"The AT, along with other trails on public lands provides an important resource for people to get outdoors in a healthy way," he said. "With care and common sense, it's relatively easy for people to maintain appropriate social distance and enjoy the outdoors."
 
Catalano said the trail organization structure is complicated and is organized by a number of entities. In Massachusetts about half the trail is on state forest lands managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The other half is on lands managed by the National Park Service.
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