By: South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Administrator of Future Scholar College Savings Plan

April 3, 2024

Spring is most definitely in the air – and on cars, driveways, and all over my backyard furniture. When warmer spring temperatures move into my home state of South Carolina, they will surely bring that thick layer of yellow powder that coats almost every available surface. It’s a yearly occurrence, so folks around here have gotten used to adding “wash off the pine pollen” to their spring cleaning list.

As State Treasurer, however, I like to encourage people to add a slightly different item to their spring cleaning chores. It only takes a little time and is essential to your family’s well-being. You’ll find that cleaning up your finances is both a simple task and a smart move for almost anyone, no matter where you call home.

Analyze your spending to see where you can save.

When you pay attention to where your money goes, creating a family budget is simple to help you stay on track throughout the year. Do you eat out a little too often? Or maybe you’re just realizing you have a designer shoe habit? When creating your budget, you should first list where you need to spend your hard-earned dollars. Then, name the places you want to spend your extra funds.

Find the places you neither want to spend your money nor need to spend your money.

Getting rid of the financial drains on your resources will free up your money for what’s important to you and your family.

  • Examine any subscription services you signed up for. Do you still watch shows or movies on your subscription streaming services? Are you actually attending the exercise classes you pay for every month? By analyzing fees that are debited from your account, you may be able to save some extra money.
  • Shop the rates. Take a look at your insurance policy. Does it still suit your needs? Perhaps you’ve moved to a new location, purchased a new car, or added a new driver.Do you drive fewer miles than you did before? If so, you may not need the same coverage. Maybe your premiums have gone up. If your rates have gotten too expensive, a different insurer may be able to save you some money.
  • Negotiate the rates. Are you carrying a balance on a credit card? It’s always a good idea to pay off credit cards with high interest rates when possible. However, if paying off your credit cards isn’t possible, you can try negotiating a lower interest rate with your lender. A high credit score or high income level will likely help your negotiation efforts. You should also explain any life events, such as an illness or change in job status, that could affect your ability to pay your debt, along with the company’s high interest rates.

Be sure to look toward the future.

  • Calculate retirement needs. An online calculator is a simple way to determine your retirement needs and help you decide what, if any, moves you need to make to help you improve your golden years.
  • Combine your retirement accounts. If you have retirement accounts from different employers, consider consolidating your funds into one account, such as an IRA. Combining retirement accounts will make it a little easier to keep an eye on your future. While you’re at it, make sure you have named the correct beneficiaries for your retirement plan and your life insurance policy.
  • Analyze your investment portfolio. If you find that your investment portfolio contains underperformers, consider eliminating these significant underachievers. Your financial advisor can help you make important decisions regarding the investments you wish to keep and those that may need to go.
  • Consider your children’s future. Whether your child wants to become a chef, teacher, or dentist, higher education is sure to help your scholar’s chances of fulfilling those future dreams. If you see higher education in your child’s future, you should consider opening a529 college savings account as early as possible. By beginning to save early, you allow your investment to grow as much as possible. Your savings grow tax-free, and you withdraw the funds tax-free when you use them to pay for qualified educational expenses. A tax-free investment in your child’s future is a smart and important move.

This spring, before you patch the holes and paint the fence, sit down in the comfort of your home and take a look at the condition of your finances. Once the cobwebs are dusted off and you’ve decluttered your accounts, you can look forward to those lazy days of summer that lie ahead, knowing you’re in good financial health.  

 About the author: Curtis Loftis is the State Treasurer of South Carolina. He also serves as the administrator of South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan. Visit or for more information on ways to save through a 529 plan.