The following post comes from the America Saves Blog. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

By Michael Girazian
Union Bank, N.A.
Senior Vice President and Regional Manager

Summer road trips remind us that it may be time for a vehicle tune up. Just like regular maintenance prevents damage to your vehicle and helps ensure a smoother and safer ride, regular financial tune ups can help keep you on the road to financial security and stability.

Following are some tips to help you keep your finances in good working order:

Review Important Financial Documents

Pull copies of your will and/or living trust, insurance policies and other important documents and review them to make sure they are up to date. Obtain a copy of your credit report and have errors corrected. To get a free credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus, go to annualcreditreport.com.

Seek Lower Interest Rates
If you carry a balance on your credit cards, call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate, or seek alternatives elsewhere. If you notice that mortgage rates have dropped two or more points lower than what you are paying, you might consider refinancing your home mortgage at a lower interest rate. Take into consideration fees or pre-payment clauses that may apply, and if you’re thinking of selling your home in the next three to five years, the amount you save on refinancing may not cover the closing costs.

Negotiate Lower Bills
Compare home and auto insurance plans and contact your insurance agent and ask if you can reduce your rate. Contact your utility company to inquire about possible ways to save on your bill. Consider bundling cable, phone and internet services to determine if you can find a monthly savings.

Pay Down Debt
Credit card bills, student loans and other debts can be a burden on a budget, and the balances almost always accumulate interest, adding to your debt. Look for ways to pay down debt -- set up automatic payments and do your best to pay more than the minimum amount each month. If you can manage it, try to make at least one extra mortgage payment every year. You'll pay off your loan years sooner and save thousands of dollars in interest.

Look for Ways to Save and Invest More
Saving is an important part of any plan to achieve a financial goal and investing is a long term activity that involves strategies to put your money to work for you. Evaluate your household budget and look for ways to contribute more to savings and investments. Discuss investment opportunities with your banker or financial advisor that fit your risk tolerance and contribute to your investments on a regular basis.

Meet with Your Financial Advisor
It is important to meet with your banker or investment advisor regularly to review your holdings and take into consideration any changing goals or circumstances. It is especially important to talk to your financial advisor if there has been a lifestyle change, such as marriage, birth, death or divorce, or a change in your financial position.

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about considering a financial tune up and is not considered financial advice from Union Bank. Please consult your financial or tax advisor.

Michael Girazian is a senior vice president and regional manager for Union Bank, N.A. Union Bank, N.A., is a full-service commercial bank providing an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, and major corporations. The bank operates 407 branches in California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, New York and Illinois, as well as two international offices. UnionBanCal Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG, NYSE:MTU), one of the world’s largest financial organizations. Visit www.unionbank.com for more information.

 

 

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | May 28, 2014

    A #credit score may be used to decide the terms you are offered or the rate you will pay for a #loan. Learn more at http://ow.ly/C7EDv

Saver Stories View all »

How Smart Financial Decisions Can Create Opportunities 

Written by | November 22, 2019

Written by Stephen Ross, America Saves Program Coordinator | November 22, 2019

Of the many stories Military Saves shares, most describe how someone was in dire straits financially and worked their way out of it with the help of Military Saves. This time we want to highlight a different kind of story. This is a story about how responsible financial decisions can build on one another to create opportunities you thought only the super-rich enjoy.

Read more...

Involving Kids in Family Finances

Written by | April 19, 2019

 

One of the best lessons we can share with our kids is about money. By middle school, kids should have a good understanding of how money works as well as the importance of saving.

Read more...

When You Start Small, Saving is Easy

Written by Lila Quintiliani | August 12, 2019

When Attiyya first got married, she and her Marine husband had just graduated from college and were focused on paying off student loan debt. They had both attended private schools and had sizeable loans. Then three months after the wedding, the couple found out they were pregnant with their first child.

The first year of their marriage, says Attiyya, was a balancing act between paying down debt and saving for the future.

Read more...