5-minute money resolutions for 2019


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You don’t need to start the new year under pressure to make good on all the stuff you didn’t get right last year. Instead, go “easy” on the perpetual “new year, new you” mandate with one of these five-minute money resolutions for 2019.

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1. Roll over your old 401(k)

“Orphan” 401(k) accounts are fairly common: A survey from A.T. Kearney found 59% of Americans had at least one from a former employer in 2017. Achieve maximum flexibility by directly rolling an orphan fund into a new employer-sponsored 401(k) or an individual retirement account. It usually just takes a phone call or two. Your old or new provider can help you conduct the transcation without incurring a tax penalty.

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2. Rebalance your portfolio

Shield yourself from market turmoil by diversifying your investment portfolio. Check in with your certified financial planner or online financial adviser to make sure you have the right mix of low-to-high risk investments.

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3. Update your tax-withholding

Use the Internal Revenue Service’s online withholding calculator to ensure your employer is taking enough out of your paychecks to pay Uncle Sam during the fiscal year. It’s good to do this exercise annually, so you don’t wind up owing big when it times to file your taxes.

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4. Fill out that life insurance application

Applying for life insurance is a lot easier than it used to be. Policygenius can help you get started and walk you through the process. Step one is compare life insurance quotes across insurers.

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5. Set up auto-pay

Make sure you don’t miss a bill next year by setting up auto-pay across service providers, including your insurers, cell phone servicer, cable provider and utility company. (Note: It’s still a good idea to review monthly bills for errors, new fees or upcharges.)

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6. Check your credit

Even savvy spenders should check their credit every few months or so. Credit report errors happen more often than you think and can signal identity theft. Fortunately, it’s easy to check your credit for errors or surprises. Federal law entitles everyone to a free credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and Trans Union — every 12 months. You can get these reports at AnnualCreditReport.com.

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7. Start an emergency fund

The easiest way to save three-to-six months of expenses for a rainy day? Open an online savings account. They tend to carry higher annual percentage yields (APYs) than accounts at traditional banks. They also make it harder to tap funds for non-emergencies, since you can’t just click a few buttons and easily transfer money from checking to savings.

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8. Create a will

Online legal sites can help you write a will in minutes. Once you’ve have the documents drawn up, you’ll just need to have them signed by two witnesses and a notary.

This article originally appeared on Policygenius and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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Jeanine Skowronski

Jeanine Skowronski is a veteran personal finance journalist and content strategist, she has previously served as the Head of Content at Policygenius, Executive Editor of Credit.com and a columnist for Inc. Magazine. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, American Banker Magazine, Newsweek, Business Insider, CNBC and more.