As the days grow shorter, the leaves begin to turn, and the temperature starts to drop, we know that winter is right around the corner. Nearing the end of the year can be stressful when considering our finances. Taxes are inevitable and once again will be taking top priority on our to-do lists. Instead of dealing with the mad scramble to have everything in order with your finances, the fall is a fantastic opportunity to get a head start and make the upcoming tax season a little bit brighter. If you are like most people, as the summer winds down, so do the demands on our time. While we still may be extremely busy, often the fall and the reduction of those summer activities open up a little more time for us to use. It may be a wise idea to use that time this year to save you much more time and headache down the road.
Fall Financial Reminder #1 – Remember the IRA RMD
If you are the owner of one or several individual retirement accounts (IRA), and it requires you to collect your annual required minimum distribution (RMD), it must be collected from one or more of them before the first of January. If this is your first RMD required, you do have a little extra time. First time RMD’s are not required to be completed until April 15th of the following year. RMD’s are required for IRA holders over the age of 70 ½. More information about this process is available on the IRS website. This is just one way to get a jump start on your year-end financials.
Fall Financial Reminder #2 – Workplace Retirement Plans
For those who take part in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, you can boost your contribution up to December 31st. If you have not yet maxed out your possible contribution, fall is a great time to start adding funds before it is too late to do so and receive the potential tax benefits. You can also add to or max out your IRA contributions as well. While this may not be something everyone can do, those who can should consider it.
Fall Financial Reminder #3 – Budgets and Future Planning
Very few people enjoy the prospect of budgeting. However, as a small business, and as an individual or family, budgets are necessary to keep up in business and meet our financial responsibilities. If you do not have a budget in place, fall is a great time to plan for and create one. If you are using a budget, now is the time to review it to determine if there are needed changes. Trying to start or update your budget at the very end of December or into the New Year can be painful. You can ease that pain by starting it today.
Fall Financial Reminder #4 – Tax Preparation
Whether you have an accounting department who handles the finances, use a professional tax preparer, or run a one-man shop and do it yourself, the time will come when you can no longer procrastinate, and you must have your financial house in order to file your taxes. If you have your list of receipts for the year stuffed into a shoebox or drawer, or if you haven’t kept a record of them at all, starting to organize and get ready for taxes now may be the only way to ensure a smooth experience. Even if you use a professional, if you have your finances in order, it will likely be less costly to have them help you now, rather than after the first of the year.
Fall Financial Reminder #5 – Get In the Giving Spirit
The holidays are often a joyous time with family and loved ones, and thoughts of giving warm our hearts. That is, at least in theory. However, we all know that the holidays also often bring a whirlwind of activity and stress that both distract us and limit our ability to manage our finances. If you are looking for a tax break, now is a great time to think about giving to charity or other causes. It can be easy to forget this important step during the hustle and bustle, so give now instead of waiting. You have until December 31st to make your contributions. Just remember, if you want a tax break, make sure the donation is tax-deductible. Also, make sure to keep a proper record of the gift for your taxes.
Depending on your situation, there may be many other great reminders you can give yourself to help your finances by doing them sooner than later. This list is just a start to help prime your pump and help you to think of the things you can do now that will be a big help as time goes by.
Landwehr Financial Solutions Can Help
The staff at Landwehr Financial Solutions can be a great resource for you as you think about year-end planning. We offer a broad range of services to assist you with many financial concerns or questions. Our financial coaching services may be just what you need to get ahead, plan for the future, or streamline your processes. At Landwehr Financial Solutions, the particular needs of every client are met through our holistic approach. Contact us today for more information on the many services we offer our clients in the St. Cloud, MN area.