I’m sure you’ll agree this year has flown by. It’s time to prepare your finances for the fall season. Here are 10 tips to get your finances in shape before year-end:
1. Increase your retirement contributions. I’ve said it in several of my other articles. Save 1% more every 6 months. It’s an easy way to increase your contributions without a huge hit all at once. You know you need to save more, do it this fall.
2. Start spending your flexible spending account. You have to use it or lose. If you happen to have one, go get new glasses, dental work or whatever.
3. You could sell some of your losing investments. If you are losing money on a stock or bond, now might be a good time to dump it. It will allow you to offset some of your gains from earlier in the year.
4. Review your health insurance. Most employers have open enrollment around October and November. Take a look now, because your employer could have made changes due to health care reform.
5. Review your insurance coverage. Along with health insurance, take a look at your life insurance, homeowners, auto, etc. All of these coverages should be reviewed about once per year. Things change and maybe your coverages should too.
6. Develop a budget for next year. Perhaps you overspent some this year. Now might be a good time to think about what you plan on spending for the holidays as well as next year.
7. Plan for vacations and holidays. Now is the time to set up an old-fashioned Christmas Club account for next year. It will help you avoid those credit cards at the holidays. It’s also a good time to start booking your summer vacation. Lots of savings by shopping early.
8. Winterize. Fall is a great time to start getting your home ready for colder weather. I personally need to re-do the weather-stripping on my back door! Getting boats, motorcycles, sea-dos ready for cold weather when they aren’t’ being used.
9. Donations. Fall is also a terrific time to gather up summer clothing you don’t need and donate to charity. Get the stuff from the basement and garage and take it to your church or Good Will and get a tax deduction.
10. Meet with your advisors. I always have reviews in the fall for my clients. It gets them prepared for the upcoming year and we can start tax-planning for the coming year. It’s a great time to review how the year went with your investments and planning.
Time does fly by when you have stuff to do at work, home projects and taking kids to their activities. Don’t neglect your finances! Take care of this stuff before year-end.