Cold Iowa winters are right around the corner, which also means 2022 is coming to a close. Now is the time to analyze your finances, help prepare for the last few months and plan for the year ahead.
Johnson Wealth & Income Management is here to help you close out the year confidently, make this tax season a simple one and help make 2023 your best financial year yet.
Johnson Wealth & Income Management End-of-Year Financial Checklist:
- Review Spending & Savings Progress
With things in Iowa getting back to normal earlier this year, many people’s spending habits changed as well. Which is why it’s important to evaluate your spending and determine where your money is going.
Having a safety net is a huge factor in financial health. If you’ve had to dip into your emergency fund this year, that’s okay. What’s important is that you’re replenishing it when possible.
- Set a Budget & Goals for 2023
An essential part of financial success is setting a budget and goals for yourself. Now that you’ve reviewed your spending and your savings, it’s time to plan for next year. The easiest way is to set a monthly budget. Plan to track your spending against it throughout the year. In the months you spend less than budgeted, transfer the excess to your savings.
This is also the time to consider how you’re going to grow your savings next year and set goals for yourself. This could be by increasing your 401(k) plan contribution, setting up direct deposits from your paycheck to your savings account, etc.
- Review Debts & Pay Down What You Can
Obviously, the goal is to have little or no debt, but reality is most of us do. The next step is to determine how much debt you have in relation to the beginning of 2022. Hopefully, you’ve been making progress on cutting it down, but if not, it’s time to create a plan. Sometimes, temporarily cutting expenses is necessary, so you can put that money towards your debt. If you have high-interest debt, debt consolidation is always an option as well.
If it’s credit card debt you’re dealing with, you may want to prioritize paying those down first, since they have the highest interest rates. The best approach is to try to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first.
- Select Next Year’s Employer Benefits
Typically, the final quarter marks the beginning of open enrollment for Iowa companies. If you haven’t already, this is the time to consider taking advantage of all available options, such as a flexible spending account, health savings account, life insurance, etc.
- Review 401(k) and IRA Contributions
If you’re planning on maxing out your 401(k) for this year, December 31 is the last chance to do so. Maxing out your contributions takes advantage of available tax deductions and employer matching contributions.
- Obtain Free Copy of Your Credit Report
It’s important to check your credit report to help ensure everything is accurate. Regularly checking your report allows you to catch errors and get them corrected so everything is how it should be when it’s needed.
There are a variety of places in Iowa where you can get a free credit report, such as AnnualCreditReport.com, Credit Karma or NerdWallet.
- Review Any Tax Losses
If you had any investment losses, these can actually be tax write offs. Referred to as ‘capital losses’ to your income tax, they help reduce your taxable income and nets you a small tax break.
Additionally, if you have any losing stock positions, consider selling them to offset gains and help reduce taxable income. Keep in mind the IRS only allows $3,000 of losses per year in Iowa. These losses must be realized, meaning the stock has to be sold, to qualify for the dedication. This also must be completed before December 31.
- Review Beneficiaries
It’s always important to check that the beneficiaries to your Estate Planning accounts are accurate. Especially if there has recently been a change in family dynamics, such as a marriage or divorce.
- Review Insurance Policies
Check over your home, auto and life insurance policies to help ensure they still meet your needs. Adjust coverage or deductibles as needed.
How Johnson Wealth & Income Management Can Help
While you can make it through this checklist on your own, it never hurts to have professional help! If you have any questions regarding retirement savings, money management, investment strategies and tax planning for 2023, it’s always important to check in with your trusted financial advisor at Johnson Wealth and Income Management. Our commitment is to help Iowans work towards achieving all your financial goals and to help provide you with a “worry free” retirement.
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