As we approach the holiday season and the end of a wild year, it can be tempting to put off financial decisions until January.
Before you get caught up in the hectic year-end bustle, review your finances to determine whether you’re on track to meet the financial goals you set out to accomplish this year.
Here is a checklist to simplify your planning.
(1) ESTIMATE YOUR 2020 TAX LIABILITY
Consult with your CPA or tax advisor to estimate how much you may owe for 2020. You can even ask them to run a mock 2020 tax return. This will help you close out the year with any last minute tax-saving strategies. Plus, you will get an idea of how much cash you need to dedicate towards a tax bill — if any –when tax season rolls around next spring.
(If your CPA or tax advisor doesn’t do this, it may be time to hire a new one. Just saying…)
Also, review your last paystub to see how much you have paid so far year-to-date in taxes.
Double-check every line item on your paystub to make sure your employer is withholding the correct amount and paying you correctly.
If you owe more than anticipated, consider contributing more into your tax deferred retirement accounts to reduce your income tax liability.
(2) BE MINDFUL OF ANNUAL RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTION LIMITS & DEADLINES
Roth IRA and Traditional IRA Contributions
Deadline: April 15, 2021.
Contribution limit: $6,000. If you are age 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $1,000. Keep in mind that the total contribution to your Traditional and Roth IRAs combined cannot exceed $6,000.
Roth IRA Conversions
Deadline: December 31, 2020.
401(k) and 403(b) Contributions
Deadline: December 31, 2020.
Contribution limit: $19,500. If you are age 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $6,500.
SEP IRA Contributions
Deadline: April 15, 2021. Contributions for a given tax year can be made up to the final tax filing date, including extensions.
Contribution limit: Contributions are limited to the lesser of 25% compensation or $58,000.
(3) CHECK YOUR ACCOUNT BALANCES
How much do you have saved so far in your emergency savings account, investment accounts, and retirement accounts? Is the balance where you want it to be or do you need to contribute more to meet your annual savings goal in each type of account?
(4) DETERMINE HOW MUCH YOU HAVE SPENT SO FAR THIS YEAR
You can download a report from your checking and credit card accounts that summarize your total spending year-to-date. Is it within or over the budget you established for the year?
This should help you set a clear spending plan for your holiday shopping. That includes gifts, donations, holiday entertainment expenses, etc.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
It’s never too early to start planning for the new year ahead. It may seem comfortably far away, but time passes quickly.
Before you set out to do your holiday shopping this year, invest time in yourself first.