What's New in Finances
Resolution 2012: Put your tax and financial house in order
The only effective way to control and conquer your tax and financial issues is to review them throughout the year. And what better way to kick off the new year than to tidy up your financial and tax house. Here are some tips to get you started.
Identify your tax opportunities for 2012. There are many credits and deductions available to you in such areas as retirement, education, home ownership, and child care. Identify those that will reduce your taxes, and make sure to qualify for all of the deductions and credits that are available to you.
Plan your portfolio for 2012. Take the lower tax rates on both dividends and long-term capital gains into account as you review your portfolio for 2012 changes.
Rid yourself of "stuff" you don't use. Are you paying for a cell phone you rarely use? A magazine you never read? A mail-order video service you forgot about? An extra cable box for that basement TV you never watch? A membership to a gym you rarely attend? If so, now is the time to dump those wasted services and pocket the cash.
Plan for your retirement. Are you putting aside enough money for your retirement? Most of the available retirement programs allow you to put this money away while reducing your current taxes. Does your employer match some of your 401(k) contributions? Then consider making at least that much of a contribution in order to maximize the benefit of your 401(k) plan.
Get a grip on your debt. Take a look at your current debt, especially your credit card debt. Consider transferring a balance on a high interest card to a lower interest credit card. Remember that personal interest isn't deductible (such as credit card interest and auto loan interest), so you might want to consider paying off that debt with a lower-rate deductible home-equity loan.
Get that new filing system started now. Purge your 2011 files. Destroy documents that you don't need. Create new files for your 2012 documents. Keep a tax and financial calendar that shows all deadlines for making payments and filing returns. And if you don't have a filing system, create one in order to organize and locate your tax and financial records.
We can help! These are only a few of the many things that you can do to get your financial house in order. If you need help on any of these, or would like additional suggestions, give us a call. We're here to help you make the best financial choices and tax decisions.