Newspaper article News Sentinel

At Year-End, Six Ideas to Avoid Falling on Our Financial Rear Ends

Newspaper article News Sentinel

At Year-End, Six Ideas to Avoid Falling on Our Financial Rear Ends

Article excerpt

At year-end, how do we keep from falling on our rear ends, financially speaking?

One way is by adopting a strategy for tax and savings and putting it in place in 2015's remaining weeks. If you haven't considered end- of-year steps to take to help you close out 2015 and begin 2016 on high notes, let's look at six worthy of consideration.

1. Meet with your accountant or financial planner to review the year and look ahead to 2016.

Many people have already done this, but a surprising number haven't. A year-end review and year-ahead look with your accountant can reveal to you vital information about your money, how you're using it, and how it might be better used, personally or in your business.

You may be a savvy investor, an effective bookkeeper, or a superior saver. Nevertheless, the laws, regulations, rules -- and therefore, opportunities -- constantly change. Accountants or financial advisers at their best are counselors. You don't have to take their advice, but what they know -- that you don't know -- can help you.

2. Put the maximum into your retirement contributions:

This is often hard, because our needs compete with our wants. The need to save for retirement is absolute. Social Security does not exist to provide comfortable, care-free retirements. End-of-year is a good time to check what your future Social Security payments will be, depending on your age in the year you choose to retire. The earlier you retire, the less you'll receive.

That's the principal reason for putting the maximum amount into retirement savings, particularly tax-advantageous financial instruments. For example, in 2015 contributions of up to $5,500 can be made to a traditional IRA. If you're over 50, you can add a $1,000 "catch-up" contribution (to help you "catch-up" with the retirement savings you'll need).

The IRS has a website that details retirement plan contribution limits. …

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