You can end the year on a high financial note and get a start on a solid new year with a little advance planning. Use this checklist for smart moves that will help you stay on track for a strong financial outlook.
Set a Budget and Review Investments. For many of us, holiday traveling, hosting celebrations and buying gifts for an ever-growing list takes up a significant amount of our time and money during the last few months of the year. And, the closer we come to the holiday “deadline,” the easier it is to overspend. A simple solution is to keep spending under control by setting up a budget.
- Decide ahead of time how much you can afford to spend.
- Make a list of the gifts you’ll buy with spending limits for each, and stick to your list when you’re shopping in stores and online.
- Research travel costs and make any reservations well in advance for the best prices.
- Review Investments and Boost Retirement Savings. Now is a good time to review the performance of your investment and retirement accounts and identify opportunities for the year ahead. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) offer a way to save for retirement and also potentially save on taxes. Take the opportunity to build your retirement savings by making contributions before the end of the year.
Plan for the Year Ahead
Review Your Insurance. You may be able to save money and still protect yourself by reviewing and asking questions about your auto, home, health and life insurance coverage.
- Are there gaps in your coverage?
- Should you bundle insurance with one carrier?
- Are there cheaper alternatives?
- When do your policies renew?
- Check Your Tax Withholding. Did you get a large tax refund last April? Were there any changes that could affect your finances like a new or second job, marriage, divorce or new baby? If so, you may want to adjust the taxes withheld from your paycheck because that could translate into more money in your pocket now versus waiting for a refund. Contact your employer or human resources department to update your withholding.
Save and Share
- Save Year-End Bonuses. Consider a year-end bonus just that—a bonus. Deposit your bonus or other financial gifts into your savings account or a certificate, where interest will help your money grow.
- Use Flexible Spending Account Dollars. Some flexible spending account (FSA) plans allow you to carry forward up to $500 to the following year. Check your plan’s rules to see if you can carry any of the money forward. Then, check the balance in your account and use up any remaining money to avoid losing it.
- Make Charitable Donations. It’s not too late to give money to a charitable organization. Gifts made before the end of the year will help others and may lower your tax bill in April if you itemize charitable gifts on your income tax form.
Making smart financial moves now can help you end this year on a high note and start the new year with confidence. Connect with Navy Federal for more ways to save and manage your money wisely—now and all year long.