Spring Cleaning – the Financial Edition

Spring is here, and it’s a great time to do some financial spring cleaning. There are a couple of things you may want to do:

A Fee Audit

You don’t want to pay too much for your investments.

Morningstar has a fantastic tool where you put in a portfolio of all your investments. It’ll pull up the expense ratios for each holding and give you an average expense ratio. You want to find out both your investment expense and your advisory fees. You can also do it manually, researching the costs of each fund.

On the same note, Morningstar will also do an overlap assessment. They call it X-Ray. It will show you if your funds are buying the same thing. You probably don’t want to have too much overlap, because it can get you too invested in individual companies or sectors of the market.

Evaluate Your Tax Advisor

Take some time and consider whether your tax advisor is still the right individual to help you. Think about the last time you talked to your tax advisor. Was it when they did your tax return last year? Don’t hesitate to ask hard questions of your tax advisor, and make a switch if it’s time. If you are a middle income W-2 employee, you might be fine to do it yourself. But once you get just a little more complicated, you need tax advice, not just a tax preparer.

Beneficiary Check-up

Double-check your beneficiary designations. Make sure they also align with your estate planning. Make sure your bank accounts have Payable on Death designations. Ask your providers to print that information out and give you a physical copy for your files. This includes your work 401k or pension accounts, your IRAs, insurance policies, and bank accounts.

Are Your Documents Up To Date?

Check with your estate planner to see if your documentation is up-to-date and reflects the current concerns. Does your power of attorney talk about digital assets? Are you still listing the right people for certain jobs, like executor? Do you beneficiary designations align with what’s in your will?


If you have taxable investment accounts, you should wait until you get the final 1099 before you file your tax return. The document you get in February is probably a preliminary 1099; the final 1099s aren’t

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

Morningstar’s Portfolio Tools

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