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Personal Loans

5 Personal Loans for Fertility Treatments

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

stephanie pregnant_lg

The excitement of starting a family can turn into despair if you face difficulty getting pregnant. Thankfully, treatments including medications and surgery can make parenthood a possibility for couples having trouble conceiving on their own. However, these treatments may not always be covered by medical insurance; whether all or part of an infertility procedure is covered will depend on your insurance plan and where you live (some states have laws mandating coverage).

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is one procedure in particular that insurance may not cover. A cycle of IVF can cost $12,400 on average, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Because success with IVF may require more than one cycle, the entire process can get quite expensive.

Instead of paying for fertility treatments out of pocket, a low-interest personal loan may be a solution. Here are just some of the many available personal loans to consider.

SoFi – Fixed rates starting at 5.99% APR

SoFi offers personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000 to cover medical costs. Terms are 24 to 84 months. Both fixed- and variable-interest loans are available. A variable-interest loan means your interest will fluctuate based on an index. SoFi does have a variable interest cap for personal loans. Generally, you should stick with a fixed-interest personal loan because your rate will stay the same throughout the entire term.

A variable-interest loan is only worth considering if you can pay it off quickly. In this scenario, you take advantage of very low interest for a short time and then pay off the loan before the interest changes. SoFi has no prepayment penalty, so you can do this without incurring a fee.

SoFi doesn’t charge for origination either. If you lose your job, SoFi has a unique borrower benefit as well. You may be able to pause payments until you find another position.

SoFi
APR

5.99%
To
18.64%*

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

SoFi offers some of the best rates and terms on the market. ... Read More


Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 18.64% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 27, 2020 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your creditworthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

Earnest – Fixed rates starting at 5.99% APR

Earnest offers personal loans from $5,000 to $75,000. Loans have competitive interest and a streamlined online application process. Terms are 36 to 60 months. There are no application or origination fees. If you pay off the loan early, there are no prepayment penalties either.

Earnest takes a look at your entire financial profile, including your savings habits and earning potential, to qualify you for a loan. Most approved Earnest applicants are employed or have an offer letter, have at least a month’s worth of expenses in savings and enough monthly income to support their regular expenses and loan payments. Earnest will do a Hard Pull of your credit report when you apply.

Lending Club – Fixed rates starting at 6.95% APR

Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lender that offers fixed-rate loans, and also promotes fertility loan options. You can borrow $1,000 to $40,000. Loan terms are 36 or 60 months. Once approved for a Lending Club loan, you get a credit rating and loan options from which to choose. After accepting your loan terms, the loan appears in the marketplace where investors select loans to invest in.

Lending Club does charge an origination fee of 1.00% - 6.00%. How much you’ll pay for origination depends on the credit rating Lending Club assigns you. That credit rating is determined using factors including your credit history and credit score. Lending Club has no prepayment penalties.

APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates.... Read More

LightStream – Fixed rates starting at 4.99% APR (with auto pay)

You can borrow $5,000 to $100,000 from LightStream for family planning, including fertility treatments and adoption. Loan terms are 24 to 144 months. To qualify for the lowest rates with LightStream, you need to have at least five or more years of positive credit history, no delinquencies, a stable income and money in savings.

The LightStream loan is transparent with fees. There are no fees for origination or early payment of the loan. LightStream also has a “rate beat” program. If you get approved for a personal loan by another lender with a lower interest rate, LightStream will try to beat that rate. The competitor loan must meet certain requirements to qualify for the program. LightStream doesn’t offer preapprovals at this time and will do a Hard Pull on your credit history at application.

APR

4.99%
To
16.79%*

with AutoPay

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

24 to 144*

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank.... Read More


*Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 4.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $299.66.

Upstart – Starting at 6.18% APR

Upstart has personal loans from $1,000 to $50,000 that can cover various life expenses including medical bills. Loans are available at 36 & 60 month terms. Upstart takes into account more than your credit history to decide whether you qualify. Your education and job history will also be considered.

At a minimum, you need a 620 credit score to qualify for this loan. You must also have no more than six inquiries on your report over the past six months. Like Lending Club, Upstart charges an origination fee. You’ll have to pay Up to 8.00% for loan processing. Depending upon your risk profile, interest rates can be as high as 35.99% APR.

APR

6.18%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 & 60

months

Origination Fee

Up to 8.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Upstart is an online lender created by ex-Googlers.... Read More

Other options to pay for IVF

There are options besides personal loans to help you pay for IVF if you can’t afford to pay out of pocket. Here are a few.

  1. Health savings account (HSA). An HSA is a tax-advantaged savings vehicle that allows you to contribute pre-tax dollars to a fund you can tap for out-of-pocket medical expenses. If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan, you should have access to an HSA. If you’ve saved up a good amount in your HSA, these funds can be used to help pay for your IVF treatments. There are limits to how much you can contribute each year; in 2019, the limits are $3,500 for an individual and $7,000 for a family.
  2. Home equity loan. If you own your home and have a decent amount of equity, you might consider taking out a home equity loan, or applying for a home equity line of credit, to pay for your IVF treatments. Keep in mind the risks involved, however. If you cannot repay your home equity loan, you are putting your homeownership in danger. Only consider taking out such a loan if you know you can repay it with no problem.
  3. Credit card. Paying for your IVF treatment with a credit card may not be the best option, as the interest rates can be very high. However, if you are able to obtain a 0% interest card and pay all or most of the charges off before the promotional period ends and your rate rises, using your credit card may be the right choice.

Bottom line

While the loans noted here have competitive interest rates, it’s best to first consider those without an origination fee. Remember, you need to have an excellent credit score and a positive credit history to qualify for the very lowest interest rates with any of these companies.

Upstart and Lending Club could be good fallback options if you have trouble getting approved elsewhere. Both may qualify you with a credit score below 650.

You can also turn to RESOLVE, the national infertility association, for an extensive current list of infertility financing programs. These include CapexMD, EggFund and Prosper Healthcare Lending.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Personal Loans

LightStream Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

APR

4.99%
To
16.79%*

with AutoPay

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

24 to 144*

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank.... Read More


*Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 4.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $299.66.

LightStream personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: LightStream loan terms range from 24 to 144 months.
  • APR range: The APR for this loan is 4.99% to 16.79% APR. The lowest interest rates include a 0.50% rate discount for using autopay.
  • Loan amounts: You can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000.
  • Time to funding: You can get funding the same business day you apply if you’re approved by 2:30 p.m. EST. Otherwise, you have to schedule funding of your loan within 30 days of getting approval.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Applying for a LightStream loan will trigger a Hard Pull. LightStream pulls your Experian and Equifax credit reports. LightStream does not offer soft pull preapprovals.
  • Origination fee: None.
  • Prepayment fee: None.
  • Late payment fee: None.
  • Other fees: None.

LightStream has no fees across the board and offers highly competitive interest rates. These two variables add up to an affordable loan, if you qualify. According to LightStream, you can borrow money for “practically anything.” Here are some examples of things you can finance with a LightStream loan:

  • Adoption
  • Auto
  • Debt consolidation
  • Dental work
  • Home improvements
  • IVF/fertility treatments
  • Pre-K-12 education
  • Medical bills
  • Recreation
    • Boats
    • RVs
    • Timeshares
  • Tiny homes
  • Weddings

The list of ways you can use a LightStream loan is exhaustive. However, there are a few instances where you can’t use a LightStream loan. You can’t use one to finance a college or post-secondary education or a vehicle registered under a business name. LightStream does not offer financing to businesses either; you are only able to apply for a loan as an individual.

‘The Rate Beat’ program

Here’s an incentive to shop around and compare rates: LightStream will beat competitor rates by 0.10% APR. You must show that you’ve been approved by a lender for a lower rate and meet other eligibility criteria before LightStream will beat the competitor rate.

Here are the terms and conditions for the Rate Beat program:

  • The lower interest rate you find with another lender can’t be from an employee discount or other special that’s not available to all customers.
  • The lower rate can’t be through any rate-subsidized programs.
  • The lower rate you get from a competing lender must be for a loan that has the same amount, loan term loan purpose and payment method (such as auto-pay).
  • The offer expires at 2 p.m. EST on the business day before your loan is funded.

Consider shopping for other loans before going to LightStream so that if you do receive a lower offer, you can try to take advantage of the Rate Beat program.

‘Loan Experience Guarantee’

The next benefit that LightStream offers borrowers is the Loan Experience Guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with the loan process, LightStream will give you $100 for completing a questionnaire within 30 days of receiving your loan.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: LightStream seeks candidates with “good credit.”
  • Minimum credit history: LightStream looks for borrowers who have several years of credit history, a mix of accounts, stable income, few (if any) delinquencies and a proven ability to save money.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified

LightStream is clear about offering loans to borrowers with good credit, although a specific credit score minimum isn’t specified. What constitutes good or excellent credit is subjective: A credit score of 670 or above is generally considered good, while a score of 740 or above is generally considered very good or excellent.

Despite not specifying a minimum credit score or maximum debt-to-income ratio, LightStream does outline some key characteristics of borrowers who tend to qualify for a Lightstream loan.

  • Borrowers with good credit have several years of credit history (excellent borrowers tend to have five years or more of credit history).
  • Borrowers have a credit history that includes many different types of accounts, such as credit cards, installment loans and mortgages.
  • Borrowers show evidence of being able to save through liquid assets, retirement savings, etc.
  • Borrowers have few late payments (excellent borrowers tend to have credit reports with no deliquences at all).

Applying for a personal loan from LightStream

The LightStream application process is straightforward. You apply online which requires a hard pull. There is no preapproval with a soft pull available. LightStream first asks why you want the loan, how much you want to borrow and which loan term length you need. The next step is to tell LightStream your personal information.

You should receive a response quickly if you apply during business hours. After an approval, you can e-sign your loan documents and set up funding. You can get money as soon as the same day if your application is approved and all required steps are completed before 2:30 p.m. EST on a business day.

Pros and cons of a LightStream personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Low rates. LightStream has highly competitive rates to offer borrowers who qualify.
  • ‘Rate Beat’ and other guarantees. LightStream will beat other rates if you can prove that another lender will give you a more affordable loan. LightStreamalso takes pride in the ease of the application process — if you have complaints about it, you can reach out to LightStream and they’ll give you $100 for your trouble. Terms apply.
  • Large and small loans. You can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000.
  • Long loan terms. Loan terms are available from 24 to 144 months.
  • Credit requirements. While LightStream does not specify a minimum credit score for borrowers, it generally looks for people with “good” credit. This typically means a score of at least 670, potentially putting borrowers with lower scores out of the running.
  • There’s a hard pull. There’s no preapproval process to check rates with a soft pull, so you won’t be able to see if your credit is strong enough to qualify without taking the hard hit. Check out our personal loan comparison tool, which includes loans that don’t require a hard pull.

Who’s the best fit for a LightStream personal loan?

People with good credit tend to get the most competitive interest rates on loans, for good reason — in the eyes of lenders, they are less likely to default on a loan, thus making them a lower risk.

In this case, LightStream is clear that it focuses on rewarding borrowers who have good credit with loans that have no fees and low interest rates because they’ve demonstrated an ability to manage debt responsibly. The LightStream loan is one that you should consider putting at the top of your shopping list if you have good credit or better, because of its perks and price.

Besides the cost, another plus is that LightStream lets you borrow high amounts of cash for almost any reason, as long as it’s not for college tuition or a vehicle registered to a business. It also offers long loan terms that allow you to stretch out your payments. Keep in mind, however, that the lowest interest rates are available for loans of $5,000 to $100,000 with loan terms of 24 to 144 months. You can borrow a higher amount for a longer period, but it may cost you more money.

What stands out as a potential downside of this loan is that a hard pull on your credit is necessary to check rates. But don’t let a fear of hard inquiries prevent you from shopping around for the best deals. A hard pull will typically cost you 5 to 10 points on your credit score — a trade-off that might ultimately be worth it when you consider the savings you could gain from qualifying with a low-cost lender like LightStream. We have discussed the impact of credit inquiries in this post — the effect on your credit may be minimal considering the potential benefit.

If you meet the conditions of what’s considered good or excellent credit, you may find that a LightStream loan is one of the better personal loans that you may find for your situation online. Check out other personal loan options here to compare products. This roundup includes many loans that allow you to check rates with a soft pull.

LightStream consumer reviews

One of the best ways to assess an offer is to read about other customers’ experiences with the lender. The Better Business Bureau has given LightStream an A+ rating, and it’s also earned 4.1 out of 5 stars from reviewers on LendingTree, the parent company of MagnifyMoney.

Customers who reviewed LightStream on LendingTree — which owns MagnifyMoney — are, by and large, satisfied with the interest rates, fees and closing costs, customer service and responsiveness. Borrowers praise LightStream for having a “straightforward, simple, delightful loan process,” “great rates and fast response” and “lightning fast closing.” Many customers were also pleased that LightStream funded their loans the same day they were approved.

While there is far more praise than criticism of LightStream on LendingTree, some customers said they were denied for loans even though they had a high credit score and income and they were unable to connect with the company by phone. Overall, though, borrowers seem generally happy with their experience with LightStream.

LightStream FAQ

LightStream does not specify a minimum credit score for borrowers. Instead, the company looks for individuals with at least “good” credit, which typically means the borrower has several years of credit history, multiple types of accounts, a decent history of on-time payments, evidence of an ability to save and a “stable and sufficient income.”

While you can apply for a LightStream loan for educational expenses related to pre-K through grade 12, the company does not offer funding for college or post-secondary education. The company does not offer refinancing for student loans.

LightStream borrowers do not incur any fees from the company.

LightStream says customers will receive a response “shortly” after applying online, if done during business hours.

LightStream loans can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including dental bills, home improvements, adoption expenses, horses and jewelry. The company requires that you use the money from the loan for the purpose you indicated in your application. You are not allowed to use the loan to refinance an existing LightStream loan, pay for college tuition or post-secondary education, buy stocks and bonds or purchase a vehicle that will be registered under a business name.

LightStream does not offer pre-approvals for loans. Potential borrowers must fill out the online application to see if they’re approved.

LightStream uses its “easy, fast and virtually paperless loan process” as a selling point to potential borrowers. If you’re not happy with your experience, the company will offer you $100 for filling out a questionnaire within 30 days of receiving funding for your loan.

LightStream is considered SunTrust Bank’s online lending division. Borrowers do not have to be account holders at SunTrust Bank to qualify for a loan from LightStream.

Alternative personal loan options

SoFi

SoFi
APR

5.99%
To
18.64%*

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

SoFi offers some of the best rates and terms on the market. ... Read More


Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 18.64% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 27, 2020 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your creditworthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

SoFi is another lender that offers no-fee personal loans with competitive, fixed interest rates that you can use for a variety of reasons. You can borrow large amounts with SoFi — $5,000 to $100,000. Perks offered by SoFi include access to financial advisors and unemployment protection for borrowers. You can check rates with a soft pull.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

6.99%
To
28.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® offers personal loans for up to $40,000 for debt consolidation and credit consolidation. ... Read More


Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. For New York residents, rates range from 6.99% to 24.99% APR.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is another personal loan that has absolutely no fees. You can borrow up to $40,000, get approval within five minutes and receive your funds in about one to four business days after verifying your bank account. Plus, checking rates doesn’t require a hard inquiry. Interest rates are typically higher for the longer term loans, and borrowers with excellent credit will get the lowest rates.

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

7.99%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

2.90% - 8.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Upgrade is an online lender that offers fairly priced personal loans for a term of either 36 or 60 months.... Read More


Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 7.99%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.

Upgrade is the only lender included in this review that charges an origination fee. This lender may be an option for people with less than stellar credit, as the credit score minimum is just 620. You can borrow up to $50,000 from Upgrade, and check your rate without a hard inquiry. Upgrade can send money to your bank account in as little as one business day after your personal information is verified.

Joni Sweet contributed to the reporting for this article.

Why trust us...

Fact Checked By: Aaron Kahn

Reviewed By: Abhishek Pandya

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Spring Cleaning? Don’t Forget Your Finances

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

iStock

Spring is right around the corner, which means it’s time to come out of hibernation and do some tidying up before summer hits. Along with organizing the basement and cleaning out your closet, why not set aside some time to review the status of your finances as well?

Even if you keep a fairly tight budget, it’s still worthwhile to do regular financial check-ups to make sure you’re on track to meet your goals. To help you get started, we put together a financial spring cleaning guide.

Step 1: Address spending

Fine-tune your budget. A budget is a plan for your money, but even the best laid plans have a tendency to go awry. A regular budget check-in can help you stay on top of your spending behavior and make any necessary tweaks. If you don’t already have a budget, check out our guide to help you get started.

Commit to cutting back on excess food shopping. “The common budgeting offenders are grocery stores and eating out,” said Ryan McPherson, CFP® and director of coaching at financial education company SmartPath. The problem isn’t the cost of each grocery or restaurant bill, according to McPherson — it’s usually the frequency of food shopping. Here’s a tip: try listing out the number of times you went to the grocery store or ate out in the last month. Divide that number by four to figure out how many times you spent money on food each week. Then, make it a goal to go to the grocery store or out to eat one less time per week. Keep reducing your visits slowly until you’re at a point where your food spending is where you want it to be.

Compare providers. Shop with competitors to see if you can get a better deal on services like cable, internet or insurance. Ask your current providers if the prices you find can be matched, or consider making the switch to more affordable companies to lower your bills for the rest of the year.

Step 2: Ramp up saving

Check your savings account and come up with a savings plan. The target for liquid emergency savings is generally three to six months worth of household expenses. According to McPherson, if you need to beef up your savings account, don’t to think of it as needing to save another $1,000. “That’s an overwhelming amount for most people,” he said. Instead, he recommends dividing the amount you need by the next 12 months. This will give you a manageable amount, like $100 to $150, that you can set aside monthly until you reach your goal. Store that money in a high-interest savings account to boost your returns.

Automate your plan. “Automating anything in personal finance is going to lead to better results and habits,” said AJ Ayers, head of operations at financial planning company Brooklyn FI. Set up automatic contributions from checking to savings so you don’t even have to think about it. Ayers also recommends keeping your savings and checking at separate banks so you’re not tempted to spend your savings or withdraw it from an ATM. Automatic saving apps like Joy and Qapital are extra tools that can also help you ramp up your savings.

Bump up your retirement contributions. McPherson told MagnifyMoney that a good goal is to sock away at least 20% of your gross pre-tax household income for retirement. The 20% includes the contributions that both you and your employer are making. Spring is a great time to reassess and potentially boost your contributions for the rest of the year. Don’t forget to take into account any promotions or bonuses when thinking of ways to increase your contributions.

Step 3: Legacy Planning

Write a will or update your existing one. Death is a morbid topic, but it’s a reality that many fail to plan for. You may need to update your will if you’ve had a change in assets or a change in your family situation. Here’s a guide to help you get your estate plan in order, including information of creating wills and designating a power of attorney.

Update your beneficiaries. You don’t want to end up in a situation where the wrong person gets your cash. When you pass away, retirement accounts are paid out based on your beneficiaries and not based on your will, said McPherson. Say you get divorced, then you get remarried, and then you die before changing your beneficiary. If your ex is still listed as the primary beneficiary on the account, the money could go to them regardless of what you designate in your will. After any life event (e.g. marriage, divorce or having a child), you should update your beneficiaries to make sure your money goes where you want.

Consider life insurance. In the event of your death, life insurance offers a source of funds to the people who depend on you financially. Without it, family members could be left struggling to pay for funeral expenses or day-to-day necessities. Now’s a good time to look at your policy and consider whether or not the coverage is appropriate and whether or not you need to make any changes.

Step 4: Review your taxes

Settle your bill. At this point, you should have all the documents you need to complete your tax filing. “If you owe money and you can’t pay your taxes, do not delay. Get out in front of it right now,” McPherson said. Contact the IRS to get on a short- or long-term installment plan. When you owe money, Uncle Sam will either work with you or against you. The IRS has almost unlimited power to reclaim what you owe them, according to McPherson — ignoring your tax bill will only lead to bigger problems.

Decide how you’ll use your refund. If you’re getting back a refund, come up with a plan for how you’ll use that money. Instead of splurging or just sitting on the extra cash, put that money to work by boosting your emergency savings or paying off excess debt. A plan will help you stay on track and prevent you from squandering your refund.

Check your withholding. McPherson recommends checking your withholding annually, especially if you’ve experience a major life change during the year. Did you get married or divorced? Did you have your first child? Did you have another child? Fill out a new W-4 and submit it to your employer.

Step 5: Consider credit concerns

Pull your credit reports and scores. Review your credit reports every so often to check for mistakes or other red flags. “[Negative records] could be the result of your habits or of someone stealing your identity,” said Ayers. You’ll want to nip both — poor habits or fraud — in the bud. We’re also all entitled to one free credit report from each bureau annually, and you can get your reports at www.annualcreditreport.com to review. But while your free annual reports doesn’t come with a credit score, you can get one for free at LendingTree. Disclaimer: MagnifyMoney is a subsidiary of LendingTree.

Dispute records. Circle items on your credit reports that are inaccurate or incomplete. File a dispute with the credit bureau and the reporting creditor. The dispute filing will trigger an investigation; records found to be incorrect or incomplete will either be removed or updated. You can make disputes online, or you can send in a letter. Here’s everything you need to know about disputing a credit report.

Develop a plan to improve your score. There are five key factors that determine your credit score: payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, kinds of credit and new credit inquiries. The most influential are your payment history and credit utilization, so if you’re trying to boost your score, start there. Set up automatic payments so you don’t accidentally miss a due date, and decrease your credit utilization by focusing on decreasing your debt. You can also try calling your credit card companies to see if they’ll raise your limit, Ayers said.

Bottom line

It doesn’t feel like spring yet for a good part of the U.S., but, thankfully, it’s coming soon. These steps can help you force your finances out of hibernation and prepare you for a sunny and financially stable summer.

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