As you are juggle finding just the right gifts and planning the perfect holiday get together, there is one more item that should be on your to-do list…your finances.
According to ConsumerReports.org, this is the best month to take inventory of your finances and make moves to ensure you are financially stronger heading into 2019.
Here are just a few things to check off your list before year-end.
Do a budget check: Take a few minutes to see where you stand. Did you meet your goals? If you fell short somewhere, what happened? Is it time for a different strategy or more relevant goals to meet future needs? Let’s face it, life can often get in the way of the best laid plans. Now is the time to evaluate where you are now and what your needs are moving forward. Making adjustments is not a sign of “failing” or that “budgeting doesn’t work”. Making a course correction is just a normal part of life. We adapt and move forward.
Check your benefits: Review your 401(k), flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts etc. Flexible spending accounts are “use it or lose it”. Make sure the money you’ve already paid for health care coverage, is not being left on the table. That’s your money. Find out deadlines, file those receipts and get reimbursed. If you have extra money to put toward retirement and haven’t reached the maximum 401(k) contribution of $18,500 for the year, the deadline to do so is Dec. 31. If your employer offers a company match, that’s free money. Don’t forget about your HSAs. A family can contribute up to $6,900 and an individual can contribute up to $3,450 for 2018. Unlike FSAs, unused HSA funds rollover and can be used at anytime for eligible medical expenses. Maximize it while you can.
Schedule those medical appointments: According to Consumer Reports, November is the slowest month for doctors. It’s a good time to get those check-ups and procedures you’ve been putting off. Another bonus is that this late in the year, if you haven’t already met your deductible, you are likely close to doing so. Time it right and that can be a savings of at least a few hundred dollars.
Give to those less fortunate: It’s not only the perfect season to spread good cheer, but that charitable donation could double as a tax deduction. Don’t forget to save your receipts.
Get a jump on tax season: Take a few moments to gather all relevant receipts for tax time and store in one place. Hopefully you’ve been doing this all along but if not, don’t worry there’s still time. Thinking about the year and starting now will ensure nothing slips through the cracks.