Fixing your finances for Fall

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NEW YORK (PIX11)– With autumn visiting for the next couple of months, important holidays and other significant dates are right around the corner so keeping your finances in order will be a top priority.

Below are tips from financial expert Vera Gibbons, who has five ways you should approach your finances during fall season.

1) Prepare for rising interest rates: Given that the economy is on the mend, the Fed is expected to end its asset-purchase program in October. And once this quantitative easing is over, interest rates will eventually rise. This means that the cost or borrowing money at record lows will be a thing of the past. So if you’re interested in buying a big ticket item like a house, for example, consider doing it sooner rather than later. Remember a one percent rise in mortgage rates reduces your purchasing power by 11 percent. And if you’re carrying credit card debt, start chipping away at this debt before it becomes an even bigger burden.

2) Expect higher prices of grocery staples: Possible prices hikes are expected this fall on a number of staples, from oranges to chocolate to cheese, bacon to butter and more. Consider alternatives. Apples instead of oranges; candy other than chocolate (or wait until November 1 when post-Halloween chocolate will be on sale); Peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of cheese; margarine instead of butter or store brand butter.

3) Start saving for the holidays: Christmas is only about 3 months away and many Americans fail to plan ahead. Parities, gifts, travel, it adds up and without proper planning, we inevitably over spend. To avoid the post-holiday hangover, create the holiday budget now– see what’s coming in the door and what’s going out, determine where you can cut back and come up with other ways to pocket more. Then set up a special holiday account.

4) Re-balance your portfolio: The U.S. is enjoying one of the best stock market surges in its history. We’re talking about big phenomenal gains and that’s great, but the problem is that investment success often brings with it a growing exposure to risk. Is this risk too much for you to tolerate? Review your portfolio and consider making adjustments if you think your exposure to certain assets has grown uncomfortably high.

5) Review your tax situation: It’s never too soon to start planning for the 2014 tax season. After all, waiting the last minute to try and get your paperwork together (Receipts, records, etc.) often ends up costing you, particularly if you miss out on money-saving credits or deductions. Now is also a good time to review your with holding to make you’re having the proper amount withheld.


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