As the end of the year approaches, it is time to compile a checklist of items that need to be in order before December 31st. While it might seem easier to push a few things off until next year, or bundle them with the New Year’s Resolutions, organization of your financial life can give you a head start in 2018. Here are a few items to add to your end of the year checklist:
Check beneficiaries – It is a best practice to check your beneficiaries on an annual basis. Beneficiaries are people who have been designated to receive a benefit from a policy or account in the case of death. Possible reasons to change a beneficiary could include their death, marriage, divorce, name change or minor becoming an adult. Making this part of the year end checklist will make it easy to remember.
Empty flexible spending accounts – Flexible spending accounts are usually tied to health insurance. Most accounts expire at the end of the calendar year, although some could roll over or have a grace period. Check with your insurance provider or employer for exact details for the plan. If the account does expire at the end of the year, spend the remaining allotment on approved medical expenditures.
Max out retirement contributions – You are allowed to contribute a certain amount of money into a 401K or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) during a calendar year. The contribution could be used as a tax deduction in the case of an IRA or pre-tax income in the case of a 401k.
Donate to charity – Charitable donations are an excellent way to earn additional tax advantages, while contributing to your local community or favorite charity. If your donations are in tangible items, as opposed to monetary, ask for a receipt from the charity for evidence of the donation. It is also a good idea to take a picture and keep it with your records.
Set up a meeting with your personal banker – It is a good idea to set up a meeting with your personal banker on an annual basis. Bank products change on a regular basis, as do interest rates and it is possible to get a better product than you currently use.
Start thinking about next year – Here are a few questions to consider:
- Will you have a significant life change such as a birth or marriage?
- Will any of your children begin their journey for higher education?
- Are you looking to purchase a new home?
- Are you within 5 years of retirement?
- Is there a likelihood that you could come into an inheritance?
- Will you be in a position to pay off debt?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, it is a good idea to discuss with a banker or financial planner.
If you have any questions regarding end of the year planning, you can contact us by clicking here or call us at 662-247-1454.