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Fall Money To-Dos

Take care of these things now so you don’t have to worry later.

The cooler weather has finally arrived and it officially feels like fall in the Bluegrass! Before you know it, holidays will be upon us, and we’ll be embarking on a brand new year. But before 2017 arrives, make sure to finish 2016 on a strong financial note. It’s important to review your finances and financial goals now, before hectic fall and holiday schedules get in the way, and you’re scrambling to get things in order for the new year. Taking care of these to-dos today could make the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 much more relaxing.

Schedule a meeting with your financial planner, or hire a financial planner in the first place! Fall is a great time to find a planning team you trust, as lots of financial ends need to be tied up at the end of the year. Be sure to call us now before schedules – yours and ours! – get crazy. 

Max out your retirement accounts as much as you can. Many of these accounts are payroll-deducted and need to be completed before December 31. Not sure how best to accomplish this? See item 1 above! We can help you make sure you’re meeting all the proper deadlines and maximizing your savings. Whether you need to increase your contribution to your 401k/403b, or your need to plan your SEP IRA contribution, now is the best time to take action – trying to catch up later can put a real strain on your budget. 

Review health insurance and employee benefits. If you have reached your deductible or out-of-pocket maximum, now might be the time to make that doctor appointment you have been putting off due to the expense. The same thing goes for any tests that need to be run, or prescriptions that need to be filled. For family plans, the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum are broken down for individuals as well as family. If the family limits have been reached, all members of the family can take advantage of that before the plan resets in January.The same goes for reviewing your Flexible Spending (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA). FSAs tend to be a “use it or lose it” proposition, although more and more employers are allowing you to carry over $500 into next year, while still making the maximum contribution.And along both of these lines, open enrollment for 2017 benefits is upon us. Make sure that you review your benefits for what you used in 2016, and what you will need in 2017. As always, please ask us any questions along the way. You don’t have to navigate the maze of open enrollment alone, especially if you’re new to the process or have a large family.

Make charitable contributions. Ask your advisor about the strategies that best fit your personal financial situation. These could be cash donations, or clothing and household goods. Clean out and get rid of personal items now, so that charitable organizations like Goodwill, food pantries or military organizations can stock up on the resources they need for the holidays and harsh winter weather. Plus it’s always great to have less clutter around the house! 

Review your goals, or create some. Do you want to make sure your budget stays on track next year? Is your goal to save more, whether towards retirement or an emergency fund? Also think about personal goals, professional goals, and spiritual goals. Make sure that you have somebody in your life to hold you accountable to those goals. You may need a little encouragement and motivation from time to time, and you probably need to re-calibrate the targets you’re working towards on an annual basis. 

A financial plan is a great start, but you need to stick to the plan throughout the years, or else the plan just becomes another piece of paper. Our team can help you create that plan, and help you stay on track in the years to come. Give us a call today! We’ll help you organize your financial life and enjoy less stress at the end of the year. 

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