In this 7 News Consumer Watch, we checked in with financial planners on the smart money moves to make before the end of the year.
1. MAKE OR UPDATE YOUR BUDGET
If there ever were a month to multi-task it’s December.
“On the way over here to get stamps to mail Christmas cards my husband and I were just talking about our budget,” said Laura Gleason in Spartanburg.
Gleason updates finances every year around this time.
Financial Planner Paul Baily with Edward Jones in Spartanburg calls that the smartest year-end money move.
“When I think about the things that can make the largest difference it’s really getting a good grasp on where your dollars are going to be headed,” said Baily.
To start or improve your budget you’d be wise to set 3 main financial goals for the new year, and then meet at least a few times with a financial planner.
But there are also some helpful online tools.
2. REVIEW INVESTMENTS:
Baily says you should review investments, and look to sell losses to offset gains.
Be sure to add to your IRA before the deadline and consider raising your 401K contribution to reap tax benefits.
3. CONTRIBUTE TO THE 529:
If you’re saving for your child’s college expenses, 529 contributions can also help reduce your state tax burden. It’s another deadline you want to beat. And even though you may have until April, Baily says doing it by the new year may be helpful to your budget.
4. HEALTH ACCOUNTS:
Then there’s your health accounts. If you have a Flexible Spending Account, use it up, and consider this with an HSA:
“If I see that alright we have some extra overtime during the holidays and my taxes are going to be higher because of that, I can actually just take this money and contribute it to the health savings account to offset, you know, the higher taxes,” said Victoria Broome.
5. PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY:
Another smart move is to protect your identity, not just by changing your passwords, but by taking advantage of your free yearly credit reports. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only site authorized by law to provide the reports to you for free.
6. UPDATE YOUR WILL AND BENEFICIARIES:
Don’t forget to think of your loved ones.
“I have a will and my husband is meeting with his attorney tomorrow to update and revise,” said Gleason.
7. CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITIES:
“That’s important because that’s going to be very very helpful as far as tax deductibility,” said Baily.
Above all, Gleason says keep it all in perspective.
“Budget is very very important but I think there is also time of reflection to look at all the things that we already have.”