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'Spring Cleaning' Tips for Your Wallet, Purse or Portfolio

"Also, given that the VIX (a measure of volatility and option prices) is near its recent lows and the markets are at or near all-time highs, buying some comparatively cheap protection in the form of index put options makes absolute sense," Biggam says. "This allows investors to put a floor in their portfolio at a fixed cost, while still allowing for upside appreciation. While most people insure their cars, homes and other valuables, very few people insure perhaps their biggest investment, their stock portfolios and 401(k)s."

Revisit your banking and credit card strategies. Kimberly Foss, a certified financial planner at Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville, Calif., says credit cards, bank accounts and retirement accounts should be a priority.

"On credit cards and debt, pay off large bills and negotiate with your card company for lower interest rates," she says. "For banking, set up automatic deductions and get rid of old statements. Also revisit your retirement accounts -- make sure to rebalance your portfolio and update beneficiaries.

Buy life insurance, with a twist. Ron Grensteiner, president of American Equity Investment Life Insurance, advises buying life insurance with a guaranteed purchase option. "The younger you buy life insurance, the cheaper your premiums, and permanent life insurance builds cash value which you can make tax-free loans against," he says. "With the guaranteed purchase option, you can also increase your coverage in the future, regardless of health status."


Slash expenses, especially the small ones. Howard Dvorkin, CPA and founder of the nonprofit ConsolidatedCredit.org, advises cutting small expenses.

"It's crucial to understand that small purchases add up over time," he says. "Eliminating the morning coffee or bottled water from consumers' monthly budgets can save individuals hundreds in a year. Saving loose change and bringing lunch to work are also great strategies consumers can implement to reduce spending."

Taking a once-a-year look at your personal financial situation is a no-brainer (actually, most financial advisers want clients to check on their finances on a quarterly, or a semi-annual basis).

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