NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's hard to believe, but 2013 is already half over, and it's been quite a year for Americans looking to get the most from their money. The stock market is climbing to new heights, floating around 15,000. Ten-year Treasury notes are rising and taking mortgage notes higher with them, and Americans are seeing the value of their homes rise 15% from May 2012 to May 2013. AMP), the Minneapolis financial services group, every financial consumers should run through a "midyear checklist" to sure their money management efforts are on the right track. That checklist should target two primary categories, explained at length below by David Mazzetti, an Ameriprise Financial adviser in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: 1. Effective ways to track income, expenses and overall progress toward specific financial goals, and maintaining a good budget. The first step is to identify your financial goals. Whether it's buying a home, sending your child to college or creating security in retirement, having a tangible idea in mind of what you want to achieve will help keep you focused and committed to a budget. Next, look back on your spending for patterns that affect your bottom line. Ask yourself questions. Has my income changed? Do I have an established budget that I stick to? Do I have any sizable, unanticipated expenses arisen that have thrown off my budget?
If, on the other hand, you find yourself in a situation where you have more income than anticipated, it may be an ideal opportunity to save more and accelerate your progress toward achieving your financial goals. Meeting with a financial adviser on a regular basis can be a great way to check in on your progress and help ensure you're putting money in the right places and your budget stays on track. 2. Strategies for consolidating accounts and taking full advantage of retirement accounts such as a 401(k) plan. Retirement accounts such as 401(k)s can be an important part of an individual's overall retirement savings strategy. One advantage is that the money is usually set aside through payroll deductions, which means it is "out of sight, out of mind" until you need it in retirement.