3 Things to Do Before the End of the Year

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Part One of Three

The end of the year typically motivates some to get busy, and others to coast. We’re all so busy with our holiday checklist and wishing we could hire a “gifter” who would deal with the crazy-busy malls that sometimes we forget about the financial aspect of a new year coming.

Your best bet is to try and steal about an hour of time and consider what you can do now that would financially impact your life in 2019.

Accelerate Your Tax Deductions

If you haven’t considered the tax deductions you need to take on your return next year, now’s the time to do it.

  • Donate Your Stuff – Now is the time to get your last-minute donations taken care of. If you’ve been putting off cleaning out your closet and garage, do it now; this can be one of the first things on your list when doing your year end tax planning. Remember to get a receipt for all the stuff you haul down to Goodwill.
  • Catch up on Tithing – If you’re behind on your tithing, make an effort to get caught up. Your church can use the money. Even if you seldom attend a house of worship, most people make a point of attending a Candlelight Service. Take your checkbook and be generous.
  • Top Off Your IRA – If you contribute to an IRA and haven’t met the maximum, shove as much cash in there as possible so you can take the deduction next year and not spend any extra money you have on frivolous gifts. This is another thing you can think of when doing your year end tax planning.
  • Business Expenses – Now is a great time to dig out those receipts for unreimbursed business expenses. If you used your car for business travel, now’s the best time to get your mileage log in order.
  • Empty Your Flexible Spending Accounts – If your company provided the ability to fund a flex account with pre-tax money, don’t forget about the “use it or lose it” rule. Since you can’t roll over the end of the year balance, start spending it down on allowable expenses and empty the account.
  • Dump Loser Stocks – If you’ve invested in stocks during the year, now is the best time to dump the losers while making your year end tax planning, so you can offset the gains from your winners. If your losers are more than your winners (gains), you can use up to $3,000 to wipe out other income and carry any additional amount forward for next year.

Review Your Insurance

Certainly, nobody wants to spend any time during the mad Christmas rush reviewing insurance policies. Think about it a minute; are you really going to have time in the next three months? Most of us get a few days off for the Holidays, so why not take an hour or two and review your auto, home, and life policies. This way you will get your insurance stuff off your plate so you can tackle all your New Year resolutions (which you’ll probably forget about by March).