The end of the year can be a busy time. Holiday celebrations, spending time with loved ones, wrapping up work commitments and projects are all on the year end agenda. Here’s one more item you can add to the list—a year-end financial check in. And unlike holidays cookies and eggnog—you won’t feel bad about indulging in this the next morning.
1. Review what you’ve spent
Take a look at where your money went this year. You can categorize it into big categories like insurance, housing, clothing, food, personal and transportation, and savings. Start to look for patterns here. Have your insurance costs increased? Did your grocery bill grow more than expected? Are you suddenly buying diapers or caring for an elderly parent?
2. Check Your Credit
Pull your credit report for free from all three credit reporting agencies from http://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action. Check to make sure there are no errors and that all accounts open in your name are valid.
3. Use Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Funds in an FSA do not roll over into the next year categorizing them as “use it or lose it” money. Double check your balance and your plan’s terms to see if there is a grace period to submit an expense for reimbursement.
4. Review Your Beneficiaries
So much can happen in a year: births, marriage, divorce, death and adoption. Make sure that you have appropriate people listed as beneficiaries on your insurance, retirement accounts and bank accounts.
5. Update Your Savings Goals
Have you made enough progress toward your savings goals? If not, start thinking about different strategies to implement in the coming new year to help you reach your goals. Check out these calculators to help you work towards your goal, whether it’s saving for a vacation, a house or your retirement.