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Use Summer to Weed Through Financials

As the Financial Services Officer here at Rabobank, I get asked frequently about financial planning and what the right path is for different demographics.

With summer here, I always recommend that people use this time to check on their often-forgotten financial obligations. Use the quiet time while the kids are off at summer camp or spending time with friends to check on your finances that tend to be overlooked.

Let’s start with your homeowner’s insurance. This is the perfect time to contact your agent and determine if your current policy is the best possible one for you. While the market value of your home may have dropped, the cost of replacing the home or its contents hasn’t.

It’s a perfect time to tour your home with a video or still camera to record specifics – expensive woodwork or carpet – that will help you justify the replacement cost. Also record expensive items such as artwork, silver and jewelry, as this all must be filed separately in the event you need to file a claim. (Be sure to keep copies of these videos or photos outside the home in case a fire destroys the property)

Ask your agent about discounts, such as combining home and auto insurance. And let them know of any changes or pending changes like a child moving out or going to college. Even small adjustments like these can lower your rates.

Also this summer, take a look at your 401(k) allocations. It may be time to make adjustments to get your money working more effectively for you.

Review your statements and see if the allocations are growing at a rate that will set you up for a comfortable retirement. If they are growing too slowly, it is time to get some professional advice.

Many employer plans offer advice through a third-party adviser, and taking advantage of this advice can get your allocations back on the right track. A good part of success in designating your allocations comes from the discipline an adviser can bring by looking at your current accounts and learning your short- and long-term goals.

Summer provides the perfect opportunity for some of these less-thought-about financial chores to get resolved. Don’t wait until the fall when life’s pace picks up and you’re short on time to take care of important money-making decisions.

Michael Drapeau is Rabobank, N.A. Financial Services Officer in Murrieta. Rabobank, N.A. has 119 retail branches in California, including Murrieta.