2012 definitely seemed like it flew by quickly. Hopefully it did not seem to escape you as quickly as it seemed to escape me. With the end of the year quickly approaching, there are many personal finance money moves that you might want to do or try in order to fully maximize the year. This is so that you can plan more realistically for 2013, and to also see how you truly did in the year of 2012.
There are probably hundreds of other things on your to-do list in December, but your financial well-being is also very important. Wrapping up your year by reviewing how you did financially can be beneficial and also refreshing to see how you did.
We like to do many of these things at the end of the year so that we start out well in 2013. We also forget about many things until the very end of the year, so a list is always good to help remind yourself.
1. Review Your Goals
Did you make goals in the beginning or during 2012? Take a look at them and see how you did. What’s the point of making goals if you haven’t looked at them at all? See what you need to work on and what you can change. Maybe you wanted to increase your retirement savings and do more charitable giving, do this before 2012 is over! You can fully maximize on tax credits and hopefully maximize the amount of your employer’s retirement match if they offer this.
Also, set new financial goals for the new year. For me, goals give me something to work towards, and I am just that much more motivated to be successful with them. If you found yourself failing, maybe you’re setting too many goals?
2. Review Your Budget
Do you make a monthly budget? Maybe even a yearly budget? See how you did, and you will most likely want to tweek or create a new monthly/yearly budget altogether as well.
With the fiscal cliff and the endless amount of other things happening in our economy and in politics, families should also be thinking about how tax changes will affect their new budget as well. You will most likely see a slight difference in your take home pay, so this should be thought about.
3. Analyze Your Investments and Portfolios
When was the last time you actually analyzed how good (or bad) your investments were doing? You might need to rebalance your portfolios and update them.
Also, if you are nearing retirement, it might be good to think about shifting into less or more risky (depending on how much you’ve saved and where you are it towards your goal) so that you can save enough for your retirement. Maybe even consider automating everything buy using one of these great free online money management tools.
4. Check Your Credit Score
If you don’t check your credit score often, then the end of 2012 might be a good time to check it. You can then kind of guide where you financial goals should be going, if you deem your credit score as necessary for the things you might need (such as a new house).
5. Look at Your Tax Withholding
Are you anticipating getting too much money back on your tax return in April of 2013? Maybe you anticipate that you will owe a lot of money? Either way, adjust your withholding if this happens. You could be saving or investing this extra money instead of waiting until the next year to get it.
6. Charitably Give to Your Favorite Organizations
Yes, giving to your favorite charity is not always about getting a return (such as on your income taxes), but it is a plus of it. Give to your favorite organizations now (if you would like to of course) and then it will count on your tax return.
What are your 2012 end-of-year money moves?