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How To Start Your Fall Financial Review

Sep 30, 2021 Personal Finances

End the year strong and pave the way for future success with these helpful tips from A+FCU.

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With the busiest time of year quickly approaching, now’s a great time to complete a year-end review of your finances. Plan, evaluate, and rework things as needed.

We’re highlighting a few areas you can focus on to help you get started.

Tax Examination

If your employer participated in the Payroll Tax Deferral, start assessing your tax liability to determine whether you’ll receive a refund or bill at tax time.

Use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to asses and, if needed, adjust withholding for the remainder of the year. The more allowances claimed on a W-4, the less income tax withheld and vice versa.

To reduce your tax liability, consider making charitable gifts or maximizing pretax contributions (up to the annual limit) to an IRA, 401(k), 403(b), HSA, or FSA.

Open Enrollment

Unless a qualifying life event takes place, you’re only eligible to enroll, make changes, or cancel an employer-provided or marketplace health plan during open enrollment. This can happen as early as mid-October, but varies by plan, so be on the lookout.

As you compare plans, be sure to factor in anticipated health-related expenses, like surgical procedures and pregnancy. Compare each plan’s premium, deductible, co-pays, and out-of-pocket maximum to determine which plan best suits your needs.

Insurance Review

It’s recommended you review insurance policies like home, auto, and life at least annually. Begin by determining whether your policy provides adequate coverage. This is especially important if there have been significant changes recently.

To avoid overpaying, request insurance quotes and compare premiums. While you can easily obtain quotes online, an insurance agent can determine whether you’re eligible for special discounts. Quotes are free and don’t hurt your credit score.

Debt Strategy

Paying down debt has many benefits. You’ll save on interest, free up future income, and help improve your credit score too. These benefits can all contribute to increased flexibility and resiliency in times of hardship and uncertainty.

List your debts and make note of the interest rate and minimum monthly payment. Next, choose a repayment strategy to focus any extra funds to paying down one debt at a time. Meanwhile, make the minimum payment on all other debts.

Balance

BALANCE gives you access to free resources and financial counseling, including debt management.

Holiday Planning

In an attempt to reduce stress and overspending, it’s helpful to create a holiday plan and budget. Include any expenses that aren’t in your usual budget already; this may include special meals for the holidays, décor, gifts, donations, travel, etc.

If you aren’t already, consider saving to offset a possible spending hike. Set a goal and get creative. For example, a no-spend challenge with family now could be a fun and creative way to reduce expenses or reliance on debt this holiday season.

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