2015 is wrapping up. Between visiting friends and family, you need to make some time to review your finances and start planning for 2016.
1. Max out on your retirement accounts
You can save money on your tax bill if you contribute the maximum amount on your retirement accounts. For IRAs, the maximum is $5,500, ($6,500 if you’re older than 50). For 2015, 401(k) accounts max out at $18,000 ($24,000 if over 50).
2. Boost your 401(k)
Speaking of retirement, contact your HR department and set up more money to be put in your 401(k) in 2016. Just one percentage can make a difference.
3. Use up money in your Flexible Spending Account
Some Flexible Spending Accounts don’t allow your money to rollover into the next year. If yours falls into that category, you can try to see the dentist, chiropractor or other medical professional within the next couple days.
4. Make charitable contributions
Donations to charity are tax-deductible and the holiday season is the perfect time to do it.
5. Review your investments
The stock market changes, so take the time to review your portfolio and re-balance as needed. Talk to a financial planner if you’re unsure where you stand.
6. Review beneficiaries
Life insurance, retirement accounts and financial institutions should have a record of what to do with your money if you pass away. Children, marriages and divorces may change that information, so make sure yours are correct.
7. Are you saving enough?
If your savings are sparse, or you’re not sure how much you saved at all, you’ll need to re-evaluate your budget for the new year.
8. Fund 529 Plans
A deposit into your child’s (or grandchild’s) 529 Plan is a great gift. Bonus: it’s also tax deductible, so use the chance to save on your tax return.
9. Make your January mortgage payment early
You’ll save even more on your tax return if you pay January’s mortgage now.
10. Check all automatic payments
Automatic payments are incredibly convenient. You may have set up services like gym memberships, online streaming sites, magazine subscriptions and utilities to be paid automatically.
Take a look at your statement and note all automatic payments. Make a decision if you’re going to continue using that service or if you can get a cheaper price somewhere else.
11. Review insurance policies
Car, home and other insurance policies should be reviewed. You might need to update some information and potentially get better rates for next year.
12. Get your credit report
Do you know where you stand? You are entitled to a free credit report each year. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, do so now.
Now enjoy the holiday season!