Financial Focus | December 21, 2017

Are You a Snowbird? Protect Your Finances While You’re Gone

Winter is (just about) officially here – but you may soon be leaving it behind if you’re a snowbird. When you go, though, you’ll want to keep your financial situation from getting caught out in the cold.
These are a few suggestions you may want to consider:

Protect your home. If you’re like many people, your home is your biggest investment, so you’ll want to protect it while you’re away. You’re probably already familiar with the steps you should take, such as informing your neighbors that you’ll be gone, stopping your newspapers, forwarding your mail, using a timer to turn lights on and off, and so on. And these days, with smart phones and advanced security systems, you can look in on your home whenever you like.
Notify your bank. Recognizing the prevalence of identity theft, the fraud departments of many banks are getting more aggressive in spotting and denying unusual charges. Consequently, you’ll want to give your bank your temporary address and contact information before you leave. By doing so, you can reduce the risk of your account being frozen temporarily if your financial institution can’t reach you with questions about charges from an unexpected location. You might also find it useful to open a bank account at your snowbird site.
Gather your tax forms. If you’re gone most of the winter, you may bump up against the tax-filing deadline, which, in 2018, is April 17. So, to allow yourself enough time to prepare your taxes, or to have them prepared by a professional, gather your tax information before you leave. Make sure you’ve got all your investment-related forms, such as your 1099-INT (for interest income) and your 1099-DIV (for taxable capital gains and dividends).
Track your investments…

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