The end of the year is an ideal time to take a close look at your finances. It can provide you with the opportunity to improve your tax situation and your overall finances for the coming year.
Here is a financial checklist for the end of the year
- Review your credit report. Check for any errors and report them immediately. Credit score lower than you’d like? Then make a plan to improve it. You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company. You can request a credit report at annualcreditreport.com.
- Reevaluate your budget. Have you seen an increase in expenses? Perhaps a higher car payment, increased credit card debt or higher than expected medical costs? You may need to tighten your belt and tweak your budget to ensure you’re still prioritizing savings and are able to cover all of your monthly expenses. Need to consolidate some of that higher interest debt? Consider a loan or VISA balance transfer from Choice One Community Credit Union to help consolidate debt and lower your monthly payment. Download a budget app, such as Mint to help you track your spending and manage your finances. Most importantly, set a realistic budget and stick to it.
- Speak to your financial advisor. It’s a great time to get input and also review your investment mix. You want to be sure your investments are still in line with your goals and your risk tolerance. Don’t have a financial advisor? Consider Members Financial Services, a trusted partner of Choice One Community Credit Union.
- Put your savings on autopilot. Direct depositing a portion of every pay into savings is a great way to ensure you are building a good nest egg.
- Automate your financial recordkeeping. Are you taking advantage of online credit union statements, investment statements and credit card statements, as well as automatic payments and direct deposit? If not, what are you waiting for? Resolve to be more organized and environmentally friendly in the coming year.
- Max out your retirement contributions. This not only helps you to decrease your taxable income but increase your retirement savings as well. #winwin Are you taking full advantage of your employers match? If not, get started today.
- Sell your stock losers.* Procrastinating selling those stocks you’ve taken a beating on? Well, there’s no time like the present to sell, unless you think they’re going to come back in a BIG way. Selling at a loss may help to offset gains on other stocks you’ve sold this year. *You’ll need to speak to your accountant or financial advisor to learn how selling stocks will affect your tax situation and if it’s right for you.
- Evaluate your insurance coverage. This includes home, auto life insurance, and any other insurance you may have. Are you underinsured or over insured? Shop around for comparison pricing. Make a change if you need to. You might save much more than you think with just a little comparison shopping!
- Make charitable donations. If you donate to your favorite local charities before year-end, you’re not only making a positive impact in your community, but you will also be able to deduct those contributions on your tax return!
- Spend the money in that FSA account. Do you take advantage of a Flexible Savings Account (FSA) for medical expenses? Have you spent everything in the fund? If your fund has a use or lose it clause, you may want to spend that money before year-end. You still have a few weeks left, so make an appointment and get that money spent.
- Review your beneficiaries. This is a smart thing to do regularly. If you’ve had any changes, such as a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, or death of a loved one you may have forgotten to update your beneficiaries. Be sure to update everything, including life insurance, IRAs and all other accounts with named beneficiaries.
- Set goals. What are you looking to achieve financially – a new home purchase, increased savings for retirement, saving for educational expenses? It’s always easier to achieve that goal when you know exactly what you’re working towards.
Get your finances in tiptop shape for the New Year. Start planning today with our year-end financial checklist above. Learn even more by reading some of our previous blogs filled with tips that can help you improve your financial outlook.
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