With the New Year quickly approaching, it’s not too late to end 2016 on a strong note. Time flies, but you still have the ability to organize your personal finances and move into the coming year in a position of financial strength. Here are 6 financial moves that you should make promptly to finish off the year positively:
Review your Financial Goals
If you created a list of financial goals for yourself earlier in the year, then this is a great time to track your progress. The reality is that while many individuals create financial resolutions at the beginning of each year, few of us take the time to track our progress along the way.
Otherwise, if you’ve never created financial goals for yourself, then take the initial step of setting financial goals to head into the New Year on the right foot.
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Pay off your Debt
The average household in the U.S. owes more than $7,500 on their credit cards, and if you only factor in those with credit card debt that number surges to over $16,000. The end of the year is an optimal time to make financial moves that will lower your debt, especially since this is a time when holiday shopping can easily get out of hand. If you receive a holiday bonus from your employer, then it’s strongly recommended to use it to lower your credit card debt. If you have too much credit card debt to pay off at once, you should consider a balance transfer credit card. Many issuers are offering no interest for up to 2 years.
Double-Check your Financial Standing
When it comes to your personal finances, you never want to be caught off guard. The end of the year is an appropriate time to make sure that your finances are in order, which includes tasks like monitoring your credit score and reviewing the designated beneficiaries of your retirement and insurance accounts.
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Increase your Retirement Contributions
Find out if you still have time to invest in your retirement by putting away more money in your 401(k) if you haven’t maximized your annual contributions. It’s never too early to start saving for retirement, and if you have spare money at the end of the year, this is a financial move that can pay off exponentially in the long run. This is especially relevant for Americans over the age of 50 that are approaching retirement and are allowed to contribute larger sums of money to their retirement accounts each year.
Lower your Tax Bill
It’s not too late to make charitable donations that will lower your tax burden for this past year. This is an excellent time to make a positive difference in the world while also helping yourself save money on taxes. Even if you’re not inclined to write a large check to your favorite charity, you can also lower your tax bill in certain circumstances by donating items that you no longer need. Just remember, hold on to your receipts!
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Plan Next Year’s Savings
If you’re disappointed with the amount of money that you’ve saved this past year, then set more aggressive goals for the coming year. Take the concrete step of creating a monthly budget that will allow you to save money each month, otherwise, you may end up with a similar feeling of regret a year from now.