Spring Cleaning Your Finances

 Tips for organizing your money from The Provident Bank

When spring fever hits, remember it’s not just your home that needs cleaning up. Spring is also an ideal time to organize and refresh your finances.

“With tax season upon us, we’re already organizing important financial documents. But before filing them away again, it’s a good time to review personal finances and make adjustments for the future,” said Chris Martin, chairman, president and CEO of The Provident Bank.

These seven tips from Provident will help consumers get started:

1. Clear the clutter: To reduce the paperwork pileup, sign-up for online statements and bill pay. And if the receipts and paper statements you have in your filing cabinet are more than three years old, you should sort and shred them.

2. Consolidate accounts: Instead of juggling multiple credit card bills and statements from several checking and savings accounts, see which ones can be closed or consolidated. It makes it easier to monitor activity and it could bump you up to a higher interest rate. However, you may want to hold onto your oldest credit card because the history of your credit impacts your credit score.

3. Consider refinancing: If you’re a homeowner and you haven’t already done so, take advantage of record low mortgage rates to reduce your mortgage loan rate or payment. Or another way to save on interest and accelerate loan pay off is to convert to a bi-weekly mortgage.

4. Save important documents: Life insurance policies, savings bonds, deeds and property titles should be stored in a safe place – preferably not your home in case of emergencies. Talk to your bank about opening a safe deposit box so your important documents are protected and secured.

5. Asses your investments: The spring is a good time to set up an annual review of your investments, particularly since you can consider investments with your taxes. If you have a financial adviser, schedule a time to meet with them to go over your investment accounts.

6. Build your retirement: Check out the status of your retirement savings, both for 2011 and for 2012. For example, you can make contributions to your IRA for 2011 through April 16, 2012.

7. Review checking accounts: Some big banks are adding or increasing fees for checking accounts. Make sure you understand your account requirements to see if it’s still a good fit for you.

More information about Provident is available at www.ProvidentNJ.com or by calling 1-888-534-8979.


About The Provident Bank

With $5.1 billion in deposits, The Provident Bank (www.ProvidentNJ.com) serves its customers via a network of more than 80 branches throughout northern and central New Jersey. The Provident Bank is the wholly owned subsidiary of Provident Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:PFS), which reported assets of $7.1 billion as of December 31, 2011.