As one year ends and another begins, it’s time to review your financial to-do list and see if there is anything you can work towards crossing off. Reviewing this list and implementing some items can help ease your mind and prepare you for the new year.
2020 Financial To-Do’s
Reflect and Renew Your Goals
Review the goals you set for yourself last year and take note of how far you have progressed. Spend some time writing a list of new goals for the year. A few ideas for the types of goals you may want to set are:
- Retirement savings in the form of a number goal, a percentage of assets, or a rate of return in the market
- Savings for a major purchase or vacation
- Reducing your debt by a certain number or a percentage
- Income goals or sales goals
- Charitable giving goals
Try and set specific goals with measurable results to keep yourself on track and give yourself proof that your hard work is getting you closer to where you want to be.
Review your retirement savings
Review how much you are contributing to your IRA and your company 401k. Consider increasing your 401k contribution and taking full advantage of your company’s match.
You have until next tax day (April 15, 2020) to max out your IRA contribution, so consider making contributions towards your 2019 limit. Plan on reviewing your fund choices, and make adjustments if necessary.
The deadline for required minimum distributions (if you turned 70 ½ this year) is December 31, or you face hefty penalties on the sum you didn’t withdrawal.
Spend Your FSA Dollars
Money in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) doesn’t typically roll over to the next year, so find out different ways you can utilize your funds. Often times these funds can be used for eye exams, first aid supplies, and other useful goods and services. Check with your plan provider to see if there is a grace period offered so you have some time in the new year to use it up.
Do a Tax Review
Meet with your CPA to review your tax situation and let your CPA know of any changes in dependents, income, or marital status. Make sure you have everything you need to file your 2019 tax return. You can use the IRS’s Tax Withholding Estimate Calculator to estimate if the correct amount is being withheld from your paychecks, or if you may owe when you file your taxes.
Consider Your Insurance Needs
Ensure your home, family, and income is protected by looking over your home, life, and disability insurance policies. You can use these life or disability insurance calculators to determine if you have enough coverage. If you find yourself coming up short, use this life insurance quote generator, or request a disability insurance quote to see your options.
Reduce Your Bills
Compile a list of all of your monthly bills, including subscriptions like streaming services or gyms. If you find you aren’t using something as much as you thought you would, consider getting rid of a subscription to save you some cash every month.
If you think you’re paying too much for a utility, try calling the company to see if they can help explain all of your charges and if there is any way you could negotiate for a lower rate. Often times a simple phone call help reduce your monthly payments.
Clean Out Your Desk
Compile all of your important documentation like birth certificates, marriage licenses, wills, insurance policies, and social security cards and ensure they are in a safe location. Making a list of these documents with their location and saving in a secure place can help you quickly locate a document when you need it.
Get rid of non-essential documents that contain any personal information. Any document containing info like your name, address, social security number, or credit card info should be shredded.
Cleaning off your desk applies to your computer too! Change your passwords and review your antivirus software to keep your computer secure.
Ready for the new year?
Following this checklist can help you prepare for the year ahead and get closer to the financial milestones you’ve been working towards.
If you’d like advice about any of the tasks above or if you would like help putting together your 2020 financial plan, contact us today. We’re ready to help you put together a strategy for the year, or simply review your existing plans and policies.