End of the Year Financial Chores

Thu, Dec 26, 2013

Estate Planning, Probate

Some rights reserved by LendingMemoWhat are some of the things you should consider doing at the end of each year to check up on your financial health?

Consider making your appointments with your accountant, financial planner, insurance agent, etc. if those are people you meet with each year. Their calendars are going to fill up before you know it and it’s a great idea to get your appointment made now. Then go about collecting any paperwork that you would need for those appointments. This might include bank statements, pay stubs, investment paperwork, old policies etc. If you don’t usually meet with these types of professionals, consider doing so to discuss your current and future financial health.

Another stop might be your attorney. Do you have all the legal documents you need written? And are they up to date? It never hurts to discuss items like medical surrogates or living wills more than once, as your circumstances change over time. Regular wills are another item that need to change as your circumstances change. Make sure they accurately represent your wishes.

If you don’t want to visit a professional to check up on your documents, do a quick review of them yourself so you know what you have. It’s always a good time to review your year’s spending and saving because next year you might need to adjust it according to new bills or changing costs. Knowing what you have available or where you can adjust is always good, so you can act quickly to adjust your budget as new expenses arise.

We all know our taxes aren’t due until April 15, but the end of the year often brings a flurry of tax activity as people begin to prepare for the big day. These end of the year chores will be different for everyone. However, it’s always good to do a little prep work in preparation for tax time. It’s a little early for most tax documents to arrive, but it’s helpful to have a place ready to file them as they come in. For those who own their own business, keeping track of receipts should be done all year—and now is the time to make sure they are organized and ready.

Now is also a great time to discuss whether or not you should make more retirement contributions (or do a contribution for the first time!). These types of contributions can be helpful for your tax bill and your financial future depending on your situation. A financial planner or an accountant can discuss how you can maximize your money by making all kinds of contributions or creating certain types of accounts. The rules vary by situation, so a professional opinion is very helpful in first establishing retirement savings.

The helpfulness of tax deductions also varies, so make sure you are prepared with the proper paperwork and that you have discussed them with a professional to make sure they make sense for your situation.

Flexible savings accounts are another financial item to check on. Make sure you know the rules of the accounts and deadlines for spending the money, etc. You don’t want to waste those funds.

Lastly, running a credit report and checking on your various accounts for irregularities now would be a great way to gain peace of mind and know your financial standing for the coming year.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith is a Lakewood Ranch, Florida attorney with SmithLaw Attorneys. He concentrates in bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Call 941-907-4774 to learn more and to ask about our free consultations.

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