For us in the Midwest, there is an uncomfortable reality that begins with this time each year. Summer is reaching its heyday, and although autumn is a favorite season for many of us, we know all too well that Old Man Winter will not be far behind, but from a personal financial planning Together, this time of year has a huge opportunity to ensure that not only have we done all the things we were supposed to do during the year, but we were also intelligent in the way we did.
With more than half of the past year, we can now reflect on the things we have done and whether they have helped us improve our situation. At the same time, there is still enough time to look at the things that still need to be done and make progress on them. What steps should you take right now to ensure a successful end to your year?
- Retirement Opportunities – Every American with a retirement plan of 401 (k) has the opportunity to improve their financial security and perhaps their income tax situation, simply by using this benefit. By 2020, every American with a 401 (k) can contribute up to $ 19,500, and those who have turned 50 can contribute up to $ 26,000 for the current year. Even if these levels are not possible, make sure you contribute enough to get a full match from your employer for your current contribution. If you only encounter your current contribution of 2-3%, you can create a significant improvement in the long run.
- Flexible Expenditure on Plans – If you like the benefits of a flexible spending plan at work, either for health care or childcare costs, this is a good time to evaluate how much you have left to spend before the turn of the year. This is critically important as these are "use it or lose it" accounts and unused dollars are wasted. If it looks like your medical reimbursement for the year seems lower, you may want to consider finding expenses to go into the current year so you can spend every last dollar. Do you need a new pair of glasses? Do you want to move an annual checkup from January to December? Complete them before the turn of the year and get them for the current year.
- Schedule a Planning Meeting with Your CPA – This year has been an incredibly challenging one for everyone, and more than ever it's a wise idea to spend 30-60 minutes with your CPA or tax preparer to review this year's expectations. Gather your pay stubs, your investment information and review your expenses and any deductions and get them to your accountant so they can "mock" your 2020 income tax return and provide educated forecasts. Should you expect a refund? Are you going to owe more than expected? Are there things you can do now to improve your performance? Do not wait until April 15 for a very difficult answer. (And if your CPA is not interested in planning ahead, you still have time to find a new one before the end of the year.)
- Review Your Expenditure and Cash Flow – "I Spend How Much on Coffee Let's face it, no matter how frugal we consider ourselves to be, we each have areas within our spending patterns that can probably be adjusted. Thanks to programs like Quicken and Mint, it's easier than ever to track these spending patterns. so many of us on automatic payments to our providers, when was the last time you really asked if you could get a better price? Do you qualify for your satellite TV provider's $ 50 monthly customer loyalty discount? Is your home security provider willing to lower your current one? monthly fee because you do not use all the benefits that your system has to offer? Is your pest service willing to forgo the quarterly show in December because wasps are not a big problem around the pool when the snow flying? If you do not ask, the answer is always "no".
- Question "What has changed ?" – Life gets so busy sometimes that it is too easy to lose track of the changes that happen during a given year and how these changes can affect us. Have you taken out a mortgage? Does a child or grandchild graduate from high school (triggers new education costs) or college (creates less required expenses)? Have you changed jobs, and in that case have you experienced that the experience is financially possible, or does it create new challenges? Has it forced you to think about how you will approach the family's health or insurance benefits when open registration comes up again in just a few short months? By taking the time to think through these questions now, you will find that not only will you get better answers, but that your stress level to get there will also be lower.
With as much as you have worked this year to help your family move forward, do not miss an opportunity to improve your situation with a few simple steps. The time you spend can pay off nicely in the coming months and should allow for many more nights of restful sleep on the road. Plan ahead, move on!