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Making a List… Checking It Twice! Year-End Financial Review

Santa isn’t the only one making lists this time of year!  The end of the year is as a good time as any to take a review of your financial situation.  Here are some items you might want to check off your list:

Flexible Spending Accounts

Have you used all of the funds you smartly set aside tax-free in your health or dependent care flexible spending account?  Most plans follow a “use it or lose it” rule – and you certainly don’t want to lose it!  The IRS website has a list of eligible health expenses.  Some items you might want to consider to utilize your remaining funds include eye exams, eye glasses, contact lenses, dental treatments, prescriptions, an annual physical examination, and therapy – just to name a few!  Better yet, take this time to stop smoking – some stop-smoking program expenses are eligible.

Retirement Contributions

Have you contributed as much as you can toward the maximum contribution allowed per year to your retirement funds? The contribution limit for employees contributing to a 401(k) was increased to $17,000 in 2012.  The catch-up contribution limit remains at $5,500 for anyone aged 50 and over.  See the IRS website for details.  (Susquehanna’s  Wealth Management affiliate is a good resource on retirement planning.)

Annual Credit Report

Have you pulled your credit report this year?  Remember, you are able to pull your credit report once every 12 months at no cost to you.  It’s important to keep an eye on your report to monitor for any unauthorized or unusual activity that may negatively impact your credit score.  Visit www.annualcreditreport.com  to obtain your report this year and make it part of your annual year-end traditions! 

Charitable Contributions

Did you make any donations to charity this year?  Hold onto those receipts for the chance to include donations in itemized deductions at tax time.  So many areas locally are still suffering the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  Give a little less to the IRS, and more to your fellow man in need!  Once again, we’ll refer you to an IRS web page for details.

Review and Organize Bill Payments

Everyone likes to start the year with a fresh slate.  For some people, that means filing everything that was thrown into the “to be filed” bin.  For others, it’s cleaning up digital files.  If you are using Bill Payment, every now and then it’s a good idea to review your list of payees.  Maybe you added a payee to pay a bill one time, but you don’t need them in your list of payees anymore.  Go ahead and delete that payee to keep a fresh list of bills in your payee list, making it easier to find the bills that you pay frequently. 

The list could go on and on, but these are just a few top priority considerations to keep your finances in good order. 

What steps would you recommend for an end-of-year financial checklist?

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One Response to Making a List… Checking It Twice! Year-End Financial Review

  1. Mady Laughman says:

    Don’t forget to update your beneficiary forms for your various benefit/insurance plans (i.e. Life Insurance, Pension, 401(k), etc.) especially if you have had life/family event changes during the year.

    Also, it may be a good time to assess if you have enough life insurance and disability coverage. Then look into plans that your employer offers to supplement your needs.

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