The holiday season is fast approaching. Fun, relaxation, gifts and gatherings are waiting! However, the holiday season brings a great deal of hustle and bustle as well. This is why December is full of to-dos. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up with the excitement and forget about important financial deadlines at the year-end. Make sure that you prepare an effective year end financial to-do list soon and end 2013 on a strong note. It will surely set yourself up for success in the New Year.
Regardless of where you are at the moment financially, you should spend some time to make sure that your financial house is in the right order. But what are the points that you should take notice and include in the financial to-do list? Here is a list that could help save you money, organize finances accordingly and minimize your taxes:
1. First thing first, re-evaluate your budget. Are you happy with the income and spending of this year? Could you save as you wished at the beginning of the year Take note of your success and failure. It will help you to better organize yourself for the new year.
2. Review your retirement plan and take a close look at the condition of the brokerage accounts. It may be the case that you need to re-balance the funds or the portfolio. If that is the case, do it. Give a call to your accountant if you need to discuss any particular points regarding the retirement fund or the stock portfolio. If you are planning to sell a few stocks from your portfolio soon, pulling the trigger before December-end could make a difference in your tax bill. Give it a thought, decide and execute.
3. If you have in mind that you would contribute something to a charity, do it now. Maybe you have been thinking throughout the year of making a charitable contribution but have not done yet. Do it now. Making the charitable contributions before the year end is actually a very good idea. Deductions from your account as a charitable contribution will reduce your year-end tax bill. You can in fact deduct all kinds of charitable contributions including cash, stock and non-cash donations from the tax bill.
4. If you are entitled to a holiday bonus from the company that you work for, use the money wisely. Consider it as an amount for investment. Put it in a bank or invest it in stocks. You can spend the whole amount – capital and profit, next year. It would be more satisfying if you can earn some extra from the bonuses.
5. Calculate your incomes and take advantage of tax breaks. Call your tax professional and discuss whether it is possible to itemize your account in order to ensure some tax deduction. If it is possible, do it.
6. Have you paid safety deposit box fees, investment-related charges, professional fees, tuition and political donations? If not do it now.
7. If you have sold some investments at a profit this year, consider selling any poor performers to help offset your capital gains. To put it on the tax bill, you must receive the sale proceeds by December 31.
8. The last thing in the list is pinpointing your money goals for 2014. Examine the success and failure of this year and prepare goals for the year to come.
Want the best financial deals in town delivered to your inbox once a month? Sign up for iMoney’s Monthly Round-Up today!