Like many financial advisors, I get a fair number of questions in December related to taxes. I think that many people, thinking ahead to the April 15 deadline, realize there are things they should do in the current year. They are right! End of year preparation and planning, when done carefully, can yield benefits for tax savings and long-term financial goals.
The advantages you gain are many. The end of the year is one of the best times to review your finances, prepare your tax documents, and make any changes to your financial strategy. You can be certain that you will be ready for the tax preparer and that your financial situation will be solid in the new year.
The end of the year is a busy time. You have the holidays to plan for, family to see, and gifts to buy. Before you are caught up in the seasonal bustle of activity, take some time to do a little organizing. Ready? Read below for some quick year-end financial planning tips!
Review Your Tax Plan
Come on, we all know that procrastination is bad. So get an early start and begin preparing your tax documents for April 15! There are a lot of documents to get in order, so you don’t want to put it off. Depending on your situation, you may have investment statements, payroll and withholding statements, interest and dividend records, deductible expense reports, etc.
If you start now, it shouldn’t be hard to organize everything into a nice, tidy stack. And trust us, your tax preparer will thank you.
Check Your Estate
If you have a will, now is the time to review it and make sure it still reflects your wishes. Has the financial or personal situation of the beneficiaries changed? Is your estate plan optimized for the latest changes in estate tax laws? You may not have to change anything, but it’s always a good idea to check.
Set Up a 52 Week Savings Plan
Ultimately, financial independence comes from increasing your long-term savings and decreasing your debt. Make sure that you are maximizing your employer-sponsored retirement plans and your own savings plans, and always aim to increase your monthly savings. Try to eliminate short-term debt (credit card or debit balances) and manage your long-term debt (mortgages).
Keep It Simple
A cornerstone of financial planning is simplicity. The easier it is to manage your financial holdings, the more likely it is that you’ll maximize your gains. Cancel any unused credit cards, consolidate your credit lines, and review your investments for non-performing assets.
That wasn’t that bad, was it? If you need some motivation to start organizing, try to think of the headaches you’ll save come tax season. Now, grab a cup of coffee and check out our free online library for an even bigger checklist of year-end tax planning essentials.
Have questions? Get in touch today