Wrapping up your finances for the year

As the year comes to a close, there are certain financial to-dos we should all be thinking about. Make sure to close out your year the right way.

Every year, usually between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, panic sets in. There are things to do before yearend, but we haven’t done them yet. A big chunk of these to-dos is financial. Here’s what you need to be thinking about as 2020 draws to a close.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

If you have one of these tax-deferred plans for medical expenses, they are great – until November rolls around and you remember that it’s a use-it-or-lose-it situation. Check the balance left in your FSA and submit your receipts. If you really haven’t spent the full amount on medical expenses for the year, then take the family to get eyeglasses or dental work.

Get giving!

Your charitable contributions – both cash and donated items – are tax-deductible, but you need to make the gift before December 31. So, if you want to write a check to your favorite causes and haven’t  done it yet, now is the time. And if you’re looking to clean out your closets or bookshelves, use It’s Deductible to get the IRS-appropriate value for your donations.

Ditch the dead weight in your portfolio

Do you have stock positions that are losing money and you really don’t think they’ll bounce back? If you sell before the end of the year, you can claim a tax loss. Talk to your advisor before you make this move.

Max out your 401(k)

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to make sure you’ve put as much as you can into your retirement plan, especially if your employer is matching your contributions. Either way, you can contribute the money tax-deferred. It’s a smart move you’ll feel good about once the holiday season gives way to tax season.

Make a 529 contribution

Everybody wins on this. Your kid gets tax-free money for college and many states will let you write off your contributions. Some states give you till April 15th of the following year to contribute, but many still require your contribution by year end.

Take stock of your spending

The holiday season is the best time to become mindful about what you spend. And if you’ve racked up some debt from quarantine-fueled Amazon purchases, you’ll want to look at the best way to pay it down by year end. Maybe your holiday bonus could clean it up? It will feel amazing to start the new year with some of your debt and less-desirable spending habits behind you.

Download the full year-end financial checklist

Get a handy list of everything you should be thinking about as you wrap up 2020.

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