You might be thinking to yourself that it's a bit early to be talking about year end planning. But, if you are like me, you tend to get busy and the end of the year sneaks up on you. That’s why I decided to write this now. I'm just trying to help you out.
There are a number of financial items that you should consider looking at before the end of the year. Some are just good practice. Others have a December 31 deadline. Let’s take a look at some of the important ones.
Work On A Personal Budget
No one likes to plan out a budget. It isn’t a fun process, but it is an important one. The way to keep your finances in order is by having a target to shoot for. By starting early you have time to review your spending patterns and make adjustments to next year’s budget. A great tool for creating budgets is www.everydollar.com.
Financial Records Clean-up
Do you just pile all of your tax related documents in one place and go through them on April 14th? Consider going through your tax related documents now so you can de-stress your tax deadline.
Will & Estate Plan Reviews
Everyone should have a will and an estate plan. Most are very simple but still need to be kept up to date. Use your year end planning time to review a couple of important documents:
Your beneficiary listings – These are often overlooked. Make sure that the beneficiary listings on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies are what you intended.
Will document – Read through your will again. Does it still reflect your desires?
Year-end Charitable Contributions
If you want to contribute to a charity this year, the deadline is December 31. You can choose from many good charitable organizations that do great work.
As a business, we make contributions to several organizations that may be of interest to you:
- The American Red Cross
- The Salvation Army
- Churches United for Homeless
- New Life Center
- Unseen Ministries
In your year end planning, don’t forget to take a look at a couple of important tax related items.
Required Minimum Distributions – For anyone over 70 ½ you are required to take a certain amount out of your traditional IRA each year. Now is a good time to make sure that you have taken it out. The deadline is December 31.
IRA Contributions – Although you have until April 15 of next year to make any contributions to your traditional IRA or Roth IRA for this year, it isn’t too early to make them now.
These year-end items may end up creating a little bit of work for you now. But come December 31st, you will thank yourself for getting this planning done well before the snow flies. It's a great feeling to have!
Let me know if I can help you out with any of your year end planning!