Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. ~Oprah Winfrey
Wowser, it is the tail-end of November. Where does the time go? Whether your finances are in disarray or organized down to the penny, the end of the year offers some opportunities to up your financial game. Here are five simple, smart moves you can make now to improve your financial situation.
Review your insurance, especially health insurance
If you are part of an employer-provided health plan, this is the time of year that the plan renews and/or changes. Carefully examine the choices you have in order to reflect on your past use of the coverage and how you might change your election going forward. Generally speaking, the healthier you are, the more attractive it is to use a higher-deductible plan.
If your health plan covers preventative services fully, be sure to take advantage of those before the plan-year ends.
Review other employer benefits
Does your company provide a Flexible Spending Account for your use? If so, now is the time to check on your balance. Most times, these accounts are “use it or lose it,” so figure out how to use the benefit before the clock strikes twelve on the new year.
Review your retirement plan savings
Are you maximizing the contributions you are making to your employer-provided plan or your personal retirement accounts? If not, change your contribution election now to set yourself up for better financial security in the future. It might pinch your budget a little initially to have a slightly smaller paycheck, but you will adjust!
Review your debt pay-off efforts
While you are taking a look at how much you are saving for the long-term, check out how much you are paying down on any debts you have. Have you only been making the minimum payments? If so, consider what you can cut from your budget so that you can increase what you are paying on those debts.
Review your income tax deduction situation
With the most recent tax law, many more people are eligible for the standard deduction. That means it isn’t crucial to save receipts and keep track of charitable deductions you make throughout the year. However, if you are on the brink of that deduction level ($12,200 for a single filer, $24,400 for married filing jointly), it would be wise to tally up the deductions you have incurred thus far in the year so that you can maximize your itemized deduction amount if possible.
Two ways to do this are to make more charitable contributions this month, or to pay your property taxes in December versus January. Often, by adjusting the timing of your deductible expenditures, you can itemize every other year.
What steps do you take at the end of the year to improve your finances? Share below! Or if you want to start a discussion with some like-minded friends, join the free SimpleMoney Community on Facebook to share your thoughts!
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