In continuing our look at year-end planning opportunities, we’ll review a few more opportunities you shouldn’t miss before the end of the year. Here are five more tips to prepare fiscally for 2017 from the recent Forbes.com article.
1. Charitable Contributions. Many people who itemize wait until year-end to give to their favorite charities or causes. Start moving now and don’t forget to do your research. If you have highly appreciated stock, you might want to consider donating that instead of making a cash donation. You’ll receive a tax deduction for the fair market value without being required to pay capital gains tax. However, not all charities are able to accept stock donations and for those that do, it can be a complicated process. Start sooner rather than later and you can make the December 31st If you’ve done any irrevocable trust planning to protect assets from the nursing home (what we in our office often call a “lockbox”), you’ll want to consult with your trusted advisors before making any contributions. For our clients, please call our office before donating to charity, making any gifts or making payments on behalf of another.
2. Credit Card Strategy. December is hard on many people’s credit cards. Start thinking now about what cards to put the gifts on or whether you need a new card. Cash back cards might give back the most bang for your holiday buck, but you should also think about 0% balance transfer cards. If you’re eligible for a card with a friendlier APR or better rewards, it might be time to transfer high interest credit card debt you’re working to repay.
3. Budgeting. Why use a credit card when you can create a budget? Start thinking through holiday gifts, travel, parties, etc. Planning out your holiday spending could help you avoid a credit-card induced headache in January. Too late for 2016? Plan for 2017! Build holiday spending into your budget for next year to avoid the budget crunch later in the year.
4. Goals Assessment. We all know we should set goals for the New Year, but what about the goals we set back in January? If you set goals for 2016, go back and take a look at how you did. Even if you didn’t meet all your goals, hopefully that can inform your planning for next year. Learn from what was difficult this year to make your 2017 goals even better.
5. Planning. If you didn’t set financial goals for this year, then start thinking about 2017. How much do you want to save for retirement? Do you have outstanding debts you want to pay off? Try setting a smaller goal for earlier in the year, then larger goals for later. If you’re able to start meeting goals right away, you’ll feel better and be more excited about working toward achieving all your 2017 goals. Make sure all your goals are SMART, too: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
With the whirl of holiday plans, it’s easy to forget that we’re about to start a new year fresh. By taking the time to do some planning now—and possibly achieve some end-of-year goals—you’ll be setting yourself up for success for next year. Plan to take some time to think your finances through this holiday season. Going to be busy? Just take it in small chunks. Plan out a half hour here, an hour there and before you know it, you’ll be ready to take on a 2017!
If you want to start 2017 by getting your estate planning in order, too, explore our website and contact us to schedule your consultation today!
Reference: Forbes.com (November 22, 2016) “10 Money Moves to Make Before Year End”