Get your financial house in order - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Get your financial house in order

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(WTVM) -

It's Financial Literacy month, and a finance expert says it's time to get your financial house in order.

A recent study by the Federal Trade Commission shows that almost 55 percent of Americans are not financially prepared for the future.

Georgia Credit Union affiliates have tips to help you stay on top of your finances. First, take a video of your house for insurance purposes, remembering every item in your home can be tough.

Second, update the beneficiaries on your all of your accounts. Next, look over your insurance coverage and make adjustments if necessary.

Polly Bell, Chief Operating Officer of MEA Federal Credit Union, says checking your credit report is one of the most important things you can do. 

"Our payment history, and a lot of your financial and personal information, is contained in your credit report. It's one of the best ways to detect identity theft and fraud, but it's also important to verify the accuracy of your credit report, whether your young or old," said Bell. 

A recent Federal Trade Commission study shows, that one in five consumers have errors on their credit report which could impact their financial future. 

This week has been dubbed "Money smart week", and part of being money smart is having a financial plan even when you're gone.

According to a recent survey by Georgia Credit Union affiliates, 47 percent of participants didn't have a will, 35 percent didn't have life insurance or didn't have enough, and 26 percent don't monitor their retirement accounts. 

Bell says, having a will is vital no matter what age you are.

"A will is one of the most important things you can do for your family. Whether you're single or married, whether you have a complicated financial status or not it will avoid unnecessary legal hassles if something should happen to you," said Bell.

Refreshing and reviewing your finances are also a key part of getting your financial house in order. Go through your financial files, and shred documents that you don't need anymore, like supporting tax documents and bank statements. Information left around the house can leave you open to identity theft. Examine financial opportunities such as refinancing, adjusting interest on loans, or paying them off if you can.

Bell says to make sure you tell someone how to access your information. 

"Make a comprehensive list of all your financial information, your accounts, your deeds, your insurances. Have them in a safe place, a safety deposit box but make sure a family member or a trusted friend knows how to access that in the event that something should happen," said Bell. 

As a part of Money Smart Week, free financial webinars are being offered. The webinars focus on financial topics such as budgeting, credit and savings. To access the webinars click on the link to log on www.greenpath.org.

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