It’s spring, where new blossoms on the trees usher in the next phase of growth. This is the time of the year when winter clothes are packed away, cupboards are cleaned out and homes are decluttered in the annual spring clean. It’s also three months before December, the ideal time to start cleaning up your finances, planning your year-end budgeting and holiday escapades.

Boitumelo Mothoagae, Financial Adviser at Liberty says, “Just like a garden, your financial stability needs to be kept clear of weeds that steal essential nutrients from your plants. So use September to clean up your finances, cut back on spending and nurture your money.”

Boitumelo gives the following steps to spring clean your finances and update your book of life

Step one: Clear out the clutter and cash in

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. When you’re clearing out your cupboards this spring, don’t just throw away everything. Make a list of all the items that are still in a good condition. Take pictures and sell them online. Soon, you’ll find that old pair of shoes, designer handbag or dated accessories will give you the opportunity to make some money. 

Step two: Make space in your wallet for the new money 

Once you’ve cleared out your cupboards, give your wallet or handbag the same treatment. Throw away all your old till slips, cancelled bank cards and bits of paper that you collected during the year. Keep the important slips but get rid of the rest. Make space for new money and opportunities to fill your wallet as the year continues.

Step three: Check in on your financial goals for the year

Now that you’ve cleared out the clutter, revisit your financial plan. Check how far you’ve come in achieving your financial goals. You might find that you need to restructure your plans or move the goal posts. However, if you have been disciplined and stuck to your financial strategy, you may find that you are well on track to achieve your personal and financial targets.

Step four: Make sure that your family and assets are protected

You’ll be surprised how much your lifestyle can change in the space of a year. You buy new appliances, furniture and jewellery. Sometimes, you forget to insure these assets. Now is the time to check in with your short-term insurer to update your insurance cover.

The same goes for your medical aid and life cover. Maybe you stopped smoking, went to the gym and started living a healthier lifestyle. Your life insurer or medical aid provider are not aware of these new developments and you’re still paying higher premiums because you are a higher risk. So call your financial adviser or broker to ensure that you have the right level of risk cover in place for you and your loved ones. 

Step Five: Update your book of life

Do your loved ones know where all your important documents are saved if something were to happen to you? Do you have an updated filing system with all your policies and documents in place? Some of the important things to you need to file include:

  • Your bank statements and tax records
  • Retirement documentation
  • All your short-term insurance policies
  • Risk policies and long-term insurance policies
  • Your updated Last Will and Testament

“Keep a life book that contains important documents including your will, investment information or contracts, insurance agreements, medical copies, birth certificates etc. It’s important to have it all saved in one place. And someone you trust should be able to find it, if anything ever happens to you,” concludes Faeeza Khan, Legal Specialist at Liberty.