Lists! We love them, you love them, the world loves them. Here’s one you can use to maximize your money-making before 1/1/2015.
I don’t know about y’all, but I sure do feel as if Christmas is sneaking up on us. (Happens every year, though, doesn’t it?) Anyway, it’s a great time to be planning for 2015, right? RIGHT! So we present 11 Money Moves (You Can Make) Before the End of the Year. Here goes!
Disclosures: we’re not registered financial advisors, accountants, or attorneys here, and your experience may vary. Consult a professional.
1. Roth IRA
Have you opened one? We did, ages ago. And we might have ignored it for awhile – but now is high time to take advantage. (Once we’re done with our final accounting in December, we’ll figure out what proceeds we’ll put toward the Roth.)
Remember, the advantage of the Roth is that you’ve already paid taxes on the money. Unlike your 401(k) or a regular tax-deferred IRA, when you take money out of a Roth for retirement (or some other major life event purchases; again, consult an attorney or accountant) you won’t be taxed on it.
2. Donations, Donations, Donations
Have it, don’t need it, don’t wear it anymore? Give it to charity!
Be sure to take advantage of the full tax deduction as allowed by law. (No, that white t-shirt is not worth several hundred dollars.)
3. Health Care Accounts
We track everything around here (see below for more on that) and we know that we’ve spent every dollar out of the Health Savings Account, and we’re now looking at our out-of-pocket money for the balance of our healthcare that isn’t covered by insurance.
We also learned that, due to a recent change in tax laws, the extent that you pay out-of-pocket for health care must now exceed ten percent – not the old six percent – in order to be deductible. Bummer – but some of you, especially ones with major purchases (surgery, braces, etc.), might be able to take advantage.
4. Credit Score – Do You Know Yours?
5. Sell It (If You Don’t Need It)
Beyond just the donation idea above, you may have some higher ticket items that you simply don’t need – but don’t want to donate because, well, you might be able to make more this way than the deduction. Or you need the cash. In any event, look around and see what’s floating around your house. Golf clubs you don’t need? Expensive boots you never wore? You get the idea.
We talked about the Roth IRA above, but your own IRA and 401(k) (or 403(b) if you work for a not-for-profit) should get some attention, too.
IRS maximums for 401(k) plans are listed on the IRS web page. (Which does a good job, actually.)
7. Silver and Gold?
I can make one prediction: an up-and-down year ahead for precious metals. One person will tell you that you’re buying at the bottom, and another will tell you there’s a ways to go.
Either way, having tangible assets like Gold and Silver is never a bad idea.
8. Track Everything!
We should just point you to our most-recent post on the subject. Track Everything!
9. Donate Your Car Today…
We’ve heard that song over and over again and it’s darn annoying. And the math might not make sense for you…
If you’re in a lower tax bracket, like 15%, donating a $1000 vehicle will save you 15% off your tax bill. That means $150. But you may feel better about helping a registered charity than anything else.
10. Mileage Tracking
Here’s another area you can consider tracking – and one that we didn’t discuss earlier – and that’s mileage. Mileage driven for work using your own vehicle and not reimbursed – that can be deducted at 56 cents per mile. If you’re driving for health care reasons – doctors’ appointments, etc. – that’s 23.5 cents.
And even mileage driven for charitable purposes – let’s say you go on a mission trip and use your own car – those are deductible at 14 cents a pop.
11. Plan for Christmas 2015
Think about this: maybe you want to go somewhere NEXT Christmas? Break that cost down into monthly, or even weekly, chunks, and start setting that money aside. Then, do your best to NOT touch it.
11 Money Moves Before the End of the Year…
Take stock of your own financial situation and see which ones of these make sense for ya. Then, get to saving, tracking, spending wisely and investing for the future!