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Don’t Fall Back—Use These Tips to Get Ahead Financially Before the Year Ends

Bruce D. Berndt

August 28, 2014

With the official start of the fall season almost here, it’s the perfect time to get your finances in shape before year-end, so you’ll be well-prepared when 2015 begins.

Increase your retirement contributions. If you’re not already saving for retirement, start now! If you know you need to save more, up the contribution you are making to your investment accounts this fall. If you are not sure what you need to do, speak with a financial professional for advice.

Start using your flexible spending account (FSA). If you don’t use your FSA before the end of the year, you’ll lose out on the funds you have in it. Now is the time to get new glasses, have dental work done, or take care of other qualified healthcare needs.

Review your health insurance. Many employers have open enrollment for health benefits in October and November. It is especially important to review your health benefits information at this time, because your employer may have made changes due to health care reform regulations.

Review your home, auto, and life insurance coverage. In addition to your health insurance, now is the perfect time to take a look at any changes you may need to make to your personal insurance coverage, which should be reviewed annually. If you have had any significant life changes (such as buying a new home or having a new baby) or have any additional assets (a new car, for example) then you may need to look at additional coverage.

Develop a budget for now and for next year. Do you feel like your bank account is always running on empty? Or perhaps you have some financial goals that you would like to achieve in 2015. Be proactive and think about what changes you need to make to feel a little more financially flush today, and get where you want to be in the year ahead.

Plan for vacations and holidays. It’s never too early to start saving for next year’s summer vacation—and by starting now you will be able to put money away without really feeling a pinch in your wallet. Plus, now is the perfect time to sock a little extra away in your savings account to cover the extra money you may need at the holidays.

Do good with donations. Fall is also the time to gather up any summer clothing you don’t need and donate it to charity. You may also want to clean out your basement and garage and take any items in good condition to your church or local charity. You’ll feel good about helping others and also get a tax deduction for this tax year.

Meet with your trusted financial advisors. The fall is a great time to set up an appointment with our firm to prepare for year-end and to start tax planning for the coming year. It’s also the ideal time to review where you are financially and develop strategies to make sure you are optimizing your finances.

   

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