- Health insurance. Many companies have open enrollment in November so this is your chance to make any necessary changes. The easiest thing is to do nothing but this may be a mistake. If you pay expensive premiums you never use then you may want a less comprehensive plan. If you have a baby on the way or surgery planned for the near future, you may want to adjust your coverage accordingly.
- Retirement accounts. I prefer monthly contributions throughout the year but if you have not kept up, now is the time. IRA limits are $5,000 or $6,000 if age 50 or older. 401(k) limits are $16,500 or $22,000 if age 50 or older.
- Securities. Talk to your broker about any securities you may want to sell. You can deduct capital losses against capital gains up to $3,000 each year.
- Charitable donations. To find out if charitable donations are approved for tax purposes, refer to IRS Pub 78 and check out www.give.org for more information.
- Flexible spending accounts. Spend all the money in your flex accounts or the money goes to your employer and not to you.
- Last year’s tax return. Review last year’s tax return to remind you what deductions you took. You can probably take these again.
- Keogh. December 31st is the last day to set up a Keogh plan for next year. You do have until April 15th to fund it. A Keogh plan is a retirement plan for the self-employed and their employees.
- Beneficiaries. Review your beneficiaries listed on all insurance policies, investment accounts, and other financial plans to make sure they are correct.
Completing these eight tasks now is well worth the effort and will pay huge dividends to you and your family. Happy savings.