The days are getting longer and it looks like Winter has finally decided to return to hibernation until next year. Hallelujah! As I'm sure is the case for many of you, the minute warmer weather rears it's sunny face, I am ready to get down to business. Perhaps it's the woman in me, but I find nothing more rewarding than a deep, Spring Cleaning - and I'm not just talking cleaning out the garage! Below are 3 things to consider putting on your "Spring Cleaning" List:
- GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER: The calendar year starts in January, but with the tax-man coming in April, it feels like a fresh start. If you haven't already, this a great time to call your advisor and evaluate your portfolios. Have you recently received a promotion? Do you have stock options vesting? Have you finally paid off those student loans? Situations are constantly changing and you'll want to make sure you're maximizing all the savings vehicles available to you & be sure that your portfolio is still in line with your desired risk tolerance. If you have children, tax season is also a good reminder to make your annual 529 contributions – you have until December 31st, 2018, to make these contributions. Depending on where you live, these may entitle you to an in-state deduction. Here in OH, the deduction just doubled from 2k to 4k per beneficiary, per year for 2018 tax filing. Finally, set some financial goals and hold yourself accountable. If you know you won't, it's time to call your advisor for help!
- ON THE HOME FRONT: My husband and I purchased our first house in May of last year. We moved from a charming apartment in downtown Columbus to what felt like a huge house that "we'd never fill" in the suburbs. Famous last words! Isn't it amazing how quickly we accumulate things? Thankfully, neither my husband and I are too sentimental about many of our belongings. As soon as Spring comes around, I'll be organizing all the items I’m willing to part with. Thanks to social media and mobile classified apps, it is easier than ever to sell items that are still in good working condition that we don't have space for... and I can make a few bucks while I’m at it! Try it yourself - sites like the Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, Craigslist and others allow you to quickly snap a picture of the item you'd like to sell, provide a brief description, list a price and instantaneously share with the world. As a safety precaution, I do advise meeting in a public space and not listing your exact home address! I also suggest a cash only exchange to avoid any bounced checks. Of course, if you simply want to donate, there is a long list of groups that would be glad to take unused items off your plate. Volunteers of America will coordinate pick ups - you just leave the donations on your doorstep - and Amazon allows you to re-use their boxes & a free shipping label (more info at givebackbox.com).
- CLOTHING: Similar to the above, clothing is something I make an effort to go through seasonally. Make three piles: keep, sell or donate. Any work clothes that are in like-new condition, but don’t fit right go to Dress for Success. Nothing feels better than knowing I am helping other women dress confidently for a new job opportunity! For non-work apparel, there are also amazing re-sale sites where you can make some money. Poshmark is similar to a mobile classified except that they're strictly dedicated to clothing & accessories. Keep in mind that these sites generally take a small percentage of your sales so it's not free, but it’s still a great way to reach a broader audience than you could successfully reach on your own. Rule of thumb: If you haven't worn it the last two seasons, you probably won't wear it again so why not let someone else love it while you add a little cushion to the wallet.
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