Spring cleaning isn’t just a rite for your home. It’s also a good time for airing out your household finances, according to Andrew Zumwalt, University of Missouri Extension personal finance specialist.

Zumwalt offers these suggestions:

• Air out your finances. If you’ve had some major life changes such as the birth of a new child, divorce or a move, it’s time to examine who your beneficiaries are. Do you have “payable on death” or “transfer on death” listed on your financial accounts, vehicles or real estate? Are they current?

• Sweep out dusty accounts. If you’ve changed employers, you may have retirement accounts that need to be rolled over to a new or existing account. If you’ve married, do you and your spouse need accounts from your single days? Consider closing small-balance accounts. Savers interested in chasing high yields may move their funds frequently.

• Tidy up your closet. Checking and savings accounts accumulate as we age. Record-keeping simplifies when there are fewer accounts. If you have trouble keeping track of multiple small accounts, imagine how many problems this may cause your heirs. Get rid of accounts you don’t need and consolidate.

• Wash away the worries. Another benefit to closing small accounts comes when it’s time to file income taxes. They can be especially troublesome if you forget to include that $25 of earned interest and have to file an amended return. Small accounts empty quickly when service charges or “no activity” fees occur monthly.

• Scrub away headaches for your heirs. Check your will and other end-of-life documents annually. Let someone know where you keep these documents. Make changes as needed.

For more resources from MU Extension on personal and family finance, including feature articles, answers to frequently asked questions and learning opportunities, go to

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