It’s almost time to ring out the old and ring in the new! As 2017 comes to a close, take some time over the holiday break to shore up your money for a great 2018. What better way to start the New Year than by getting your financial house in order?
Tax time tips. Looking ahead to that tax return you’ll file by April 17, consider ways to maximize your deductions and postpone income. If you’re planning to make a donation to charity, pay it no later than December 31. If you’re expecting a bonus for 2017, ask if you can postpone it until after January 1.
Review your accounts. Take a look at your records for your investments, credit union and bank accounts. Make sure you’ve designated beneficiaries on all your investment accounts where that’s applicable. If you’ve moved or made a major life change – you got married or divorced, for example -- make sure your information is updated accordingly.
Check your bills. Look at the items you pay monthly and consider whether you can trim costs or if you need to make changes. Revisit your automobile insurance to make sure you have sufficient coverage, and do some price-shopping to see if you can get a better deal. If you’re paying more for cable TV, internet or cellphone service, call and inquire about bundled pricing or other money-saving options. If you signed up at a promotional rate, which has since expired, some carriers may agree to continue the lower rate – but you’ll have to ask.
Check your credit reports. Go online to make sure there are no erroneous reports or potentially fraudulent activity. You can check your credit reports for free once a year at https://www.annualcreditreport.com.
Look back and assess. Look over your bank statements and bills for the past 12 months. Where did you make smart money moves, and where did you falter? Find ways to continue the good habits and make improvements where needed. If you overlooked a bill or two, for example, consider signing up for automatic bill payment, or set a regular alert on your calendar to remind you before it’s due.
Look ahead and plan. Set a goal to take at least one step that will move you closer to financial success in 2018. Can you save a bit more money each month? Can you take a class, earn a certification, or take other steps to improve your career options and your chances for promotion and a raise?
Take these steps, and you’ll be teed up for a great 2018!