Fall is here! Football is on the TV and the temperatures are dropping. While you’re getting your sweaters out of storage for cooler days, it’s also a good time to perform a quick financial review. Tackle these tasks this fall, and you’ll score some progress toward financial success.
Open Enrollment Season:
For many employers, the open enrollment season occurs in the fall. That’s the period of time each year when you can elect to sign up for health insurance and other benefits. Don’t let it sneak up on you so that you have to scramble at the last minute. Take the time now to attend the meeting, read the brochure or make a call to HR – whatever it takes to understand your options and make smart choices.
Shore Up Billing:
Do you occasionally miss payments, or end up paying bills late? That can cost you late fees and wreak havoc on your credit rating. Take a few minutes to draw up a list of the bills you pay each month. Enter due dates on your calendar, and set up alerts that will ping you a few days before each bill is due. Consider setting up automatic bill payment for your utilities and other monthly bills. You can also set up the Cashflow Calendar in our InCompass personal financial management tool to remind you when payments are due, or how to best plan your spending.
Start the Holiday Run-up:
Sure, it’s annoying to see Christmas merchandise in the store already, but from a personal finance standpoint, thinking ahead for the holidays can save you cash. Consider how much you’ll need for gifts, travel, parties, entertaining, food and other holiday activities and start a savings fund to cover the anticipated cost. Thinking ahead will give you time to come up with inexpensive-yet-meaningful gift ideas. If you plan to fly during the holidays, begin comparison-shopping now for deals on airfares; the sooner you start shopping, the more options you’ll have. Do this now, and you’ll avoid an overspending hangover in January.
Anticipate End of Year Deadlines
We’re now in the fourth quarter of 2017. It’s time to start thinking about end-of-year tax strategies. Are you on track to hit your goals for savings and retirement accounts by December 31? Check your retirement balance now, and consider upping your last few contributions if cash flow permits. If your receipts and tax records are in disarray, start organizing your files.