It’s Time: Your Mid-Year Financial Checkup in 7 Easy Steps

financial check-in"
financial check-in
Source: @karolina-grabowska | Pexels
Source: @karolina-grabowska | Pexels

At the beginning of a new year, I always start fresh. I’m going to eat healthy, work out, keep my life organized, and stick to some sort of financial plan to reach my goals. But like so many people, this start-of-the-year enthusiasm doesn’t really last. Before the snow has melted, I’ve let a few (or all) of these things slip. And by the time spring is coming to an end, I need a full intervention to get myself on track. One of the things that is always on that pre-summer intervention list is to do a mid-year financial check-in.

Cleaning my financial house at the beginning of the year is a step I never skip, and each month after, I try to check in monthly to make sure things are generally going in the right direction. But even with all that, a more in-depth mid-year checkup is needed to help me stay on top of things. It’s the one thing that helps to make sure I’m not asking, “Where did it all go?” at the end of the year.

As the weather is warming up, diving into your bank account details may sound like the last thing you want to do. But these six steps will make it easier to head into the busy season of summer, knowing that you won’t end up in a full-on financial panic come fall and winter.

1. Estimate your net worth

It’s a good idea to check in on your complete financial picture at least a couple of times per year. The easiest way to do this is by looking at your net worth: your assets (what you own) minus your debt (what you owe). This gives you a snapshot of how you’re doing financially and helps you decide where to focus your efforts. For example, seeing all of your debt added together may make you decide to prioritize paying it off quickly.

This doesn’t need to be time-consuming or fancy. On one side of a piece of paper, list out all of your bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other assets (like a house). On the other side, list out all of your debts: credit cards, student loans, and other loans (like a car). Then, subtract your debts from your assets. Knowing the final number will put you in a good place to create or adjust your goals for the rest of the year—whether that’s to prioritize growing your income, paying off your debt, or something else altogether.

2. Adjust your goals

The great thing about goals is they give us direction. The tough thing about goals is that life changes, and if you’re not changing your goals right along with it, they become pretty pointless. This is why it’s a good idea to review your financial goals regularly.

If you set goals for yourself back in January, do they still make sense? If you gave yourself the goal of saving for a home down payment earlier in the year, but you’ve decided to press pause on that, have you set another goal in its place? And if you’re still chipping away at a goal, how is it going? Can you meet it by year-end or should you adjust it?

Asking yourself these questions can give you a better picture of where you stand financially and allow you to adjust your spending, savings, or investment plans. Any goals you set—but especially your financial goals—should always align with your current lifestyle and priorities.

3. Check in on your budget

Hopefully, you have a budget. Maybe you don’t track your spending meticulously, but you know how much you can spend and how much you aim to save. Take this moment mid-year to check in on that budget. Then, assess how it’s working for you. If you don’t have one already, I’m begging you to take this time to create one.

Then, ask yourself these questions: Are there places where you’re overspending? Have you gotten into some less-than-desirable spending habits that you want to break? What areas of your budget could use some TLC? Look at your spending for the past few months and see how it compares to your budget. Then, make any adjustments needed.

4. Meet with a financial advisor

Halfway through the year is a great time to book an appointment with a financial advisor to check in on your finances. They see your overall financial picture and can tell you some hard truths about your habits. Plus, they can suggest saving or investment plans that might be of advantage to you. Talking to a financial advisor is something you might not do regularly throughout the year, but making a habit of checking in on your overall financial picture with them in June can help you tackle the second half of the year strong.

5. Make a plan for summer spending

After a long winter, summer is social. There is always something to do, somewhere to go, and someone to meet. But all of this summer fun can leave your bank account, well, less fun. I swear I spend twice if not three times as much money during summer on after-work happy hours and big events (namely weddings and bridal showers). But with a little planning, you can enjoy the festivities that happen in the summer months and not go broke in the process. It all comes down to budgeting and cutting unnecessary expenses.

Do you have monthly subscriptions like Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Audible? Consider pausing these for the summer while you’re spending time doing other things. (You’re going to be spending most of your time outside anyway!) You may even be able to pause your gym membership for a month or two and work out outdoors, taking advantage of sunny days.

Embrace trade-offs in this process: If you know you’re going to be spending a little extra on things you don’t regularly do, find some places to cut back so it evens out. For example, if you know you’ll be heading out to dinner with a friend after work, commit to packing your lunch for a couple of days to offset the cost.

6. Check in on your retirement contributions

In 2024, the maximum amount you can contribute to retirement in a 401(K) is $23,000, and $7,000 in an IRA, according to the IRS. Knowing this, ask yourself how much you planned to set aside for retirement this year and then, more importantly, how that’s going. Are you on track? Do you need to set aside a little more money to take advantage of your retirement account options?

Since my retirement contributions come out of my paycheck automatically through my employer, I’ll admit that I don’t look at them or even think about them very often. However, for the past few years, I’ve forced myself to do this not-so-fun adult task during my mid-year check-in, and I always feel better after I do. Not only does this allow me to increase my contributions to better align with my goals, but it also makes me confident that I’m setting myself up for success—and not just for the rest of the year, but for the rest of my life, too.

7. Research your salary

Even if your review isn’t until the end of the year, this halfway point is a good opportunity to assess your current salary. Do some research to benchmark your salary against competitive salaries in your field. How does it measure up? Has the average increased since the beginning of the year? Knowing this can prepare you to negotiate a raise (or increase your pricing if you’re self-employed!) during your performance review.

While this isn’t the only information you’ll need to bring to the table to land a raise (you’ll need to come prepared with your accomplishments, too!), it helps to have data to support your ask. Remember, the more you know, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to advocate for yourself.