Updated: Nov 14
These 3 things will take less than 30 minutes. TOTAL.
I promise. And it could save a ton of pain later on.
Check your credit report
15 million people experience identity theft every year. Sometimes, it's minor and a call to your bank can fix the issue. Sometimes it's far worse and can take years to unwind if left undetected.
Here's how to do it:
Go to AnnualCreditReport.com
Click on the red box that says "Request Your Free Credit Reports Now"
Answer the prompts and questions to verify your identity
Request your credit report from all three agencies (they can be different sometimes)
Review each report for red or yellow flags showing delinquent accounts. And also look for credit lines you didn't know about.
If you find something, report it through the agencies system to start the correction process
Check your beneficiary designations
You should have beneficiary designations on any life insurance contracts and/or retirement accounts.
Beneficiary designations are great and extremely when done properly. But they can also create huge problems. If not updated timely as circumstances change, or if they are missing altogether, money could end up where you didn't want it or your heirs could pay a much higher tax bill than needed.
Key times to review your beneficiary designations:
At least once a year or when you open a new account
Birth of a child
Marriage or divorce
Death of a loved one
Check your Social Security statement at ssa.gov/myaccount
This is important, even if you are in your 30s or 40s.
The Social Security Administration keeps a total of your income each year and uses those numbers to calculate your ending Social Security benefit when you retire. If they miss a year, or incorrectly report your income, it could cost you benefits in retirement, even though you paid the tax. Worse, if the mistake happened more than a few years ago, it can be really difficult to fix.
I've had a number of clients find mistakes when they checked their records. And even the Social Security Administration themselves admit that up to 10% of the records may be off in some way.
Check your benefit by:
Click on "Create an Account"
Answer the required questions
Look for the listing of your historical earnings. Look for big discrepancies or missing income years