So Fresh and So Clean in 2012

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Photo Source: AsphaltandMe’s shop on Etsy

Welcome to RESTART 2012, a painless four-part financial scrub-down that will have you in fighting shape before you can say “FICO.”

This week, you’re going to streamline your accounts. Why? Because stray checking, dormant 401ks and other financial clutter waste your time and money.

Step 1, obviously, is to track down the accounts you have, what’s in them, and the 800 number—because you’ve forgotten your passwords.

Step 2 is to gauge how each account fits into your financial plan. You may want four savings accounts, if they keep your goals on track. You don’t need six IRAs. Watch out for:

    • Fees (e.g. minimum balance, quarterly charges)
    • Cash that could be earning more
    • Accounts that could be closed or combined (including credit cards)

Step 3: Find alternatives, or get help to do so. The Garrett Planning Network is a reputable source of fee-only planners—meaning, you pay a flat fee or an hourly rate to get advice. You don’t have to commit to a plan.

Be smart: You can’t do this all in 10 minutes. But you can work on it, 10 minutes at a time, over the coming week. And be ready for a richer 2012. 

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