'Tis the season...
I love this time of year and the magic it brings, especially with little ones at home. ‘Tis the Season… to be Merry, for Peace, Love, Joy, Family, Giving…
All of those reasons put a smile on my face. However, the financial planner in me thinks, ‘Tis the Season for…
Spending – It’s amazing how even those who are good at managing their spending can get caught up in the endless financial transactions in December. The momentum of spending can pick up speed and since we’re in that mode the budget flies out the window. Don’t let the holidays ruin your budget for the year.
Giving – Last month I wrote about some of the benefits of giving. From a financial and tax planning standpoint, review your giving and be sure to complete any gifts you’d like a tax deduction for this year, by December 31st. Also, with a higher standard deduction than previous years, many people won’t itemize. You may consider “bunching” some of your giving into years that you will itemize to get the most tax benefit. Using a Donor Advised Fund can be a good way to manage your giving for this strategy.
Savings – If you haven’t maximized the retirement savings vehicles available to you and have the ability to save more, make sure you do so. For an employer sponsored retirement account such as a 401K or 403B, contact your employer to find out the contribution deadline as plan rules can vary. The contribution deadline for IRAs and Roth IRAs is April 15th. Also, contribution limits increase next year so make any necessary adjustments to your contributions if you’d like to maximize your savings.
Planning – It is a good time to review your financial plans and make purposeful decisions for the upcoming year. Are you saving enough? Are you paying down debt? Do you need to adjust your contributions or distributions (such as required minimum distributions)? Start the new year fresh. If you don’t have financial goals, make some. If you don’t have a budget or spending plan, create one.
If you have questions on any of these topics or would like resources to get started please let me know and I’d be happy to provide them.
Most of all, I hope you truly experience the peace that Christmas brings and don’t let finances, busyness, or the commercialization of the season, get in the way of experiencing the true reason for the season.
Advisory services offered through Arbor Point Advisors. Securities offered through Securities America Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Arbor Point and Securities America are separate companies. CA Insurance #0E88557