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Personal Finance

End-of-year financial planning checklist

2015-11-18

As 2015 draws to a close, you can now determine whether or not your satisfied with your financial standing as a result of decisions you've made throughout the previous 12 months. If your bank accounts don't have the balances you'd planned for, or if you aren't as far along as you'd like to be with your retirement savings, then it's time to make a solid game-plan for 2016 so you're in a better situation at this time next year.

AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust has provided some suggestions for getting you back on track.

Follow the below tips NOW to get your financial house ready for 2016:  

  • If you're not retired, contribute as much as you can afford to your IRA and 401(K). Check the maximum contributions allowed for each program. For example, once you turn 50, you’re eligible to contribute up to $24,000 per year to your 401(K). If you’re younger, the contribution limit in 2016 is $18,000.
  • If you or your spouse are 70 ½ or older, withdraw the Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your traditional IRAs or 401(Ks) before December 31, 2015. If you fail to take your RMDs before December 31, you’ll incur an additional 50% penalty tax.
  • Make charitable contributions BEFORE December 31, 2015, so that you are able to claim them as deductions on your 2015 income tax return. Even if your check is dated December 31, 2015, and it isn’t cashed until 2016, it still counts toward 2015 tax deductions.
  • Compare this year's spending against your budget and make any necessary adjustments for next year.
  • If you receive a holiday bonus or expect higher earnings next year, consider putting all or part of the increase into savings.
  • Check your asset allocation and make any necessary changes.
  • Take some time to define your family's financial goals and concerns for next year.
  • Do you want to save more for retirement? Or for college?
  • Is a particular budget category consistently over-budget?
  • Do you expect any unusually large bills next year such as college tuition or a new roof?

Taking the time to address these items now can help make next year a success. Contact wealthmanagement@aafmaa.com to help analyze your situation.