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Finances in Focus: Your Year-End Checklist

December 29, 2017Building Your Future

Reviewing your finances for 2017 is a great way to step into the new year.

Assessing your year-end finances can:

  • Offer a snapshot of what you’ve earned, spent and saved.
  • Provide insight on where you stand on year-end deadlines.
  • Help you track progress against long-term goals.

Here’s a checklist to help with your review.

6 to-dos for your annual financial review

Ticked checkbox1. Study your expenses.

Where did your money go? Making a list of all of your expenses can help you answer that question – and expose habits that could hurt your future.

Tip: Look closely at your monthly expenses. You may be able to save money by cutting back on services you don’t use enough to justify their cost – such as cable TV or a gym membership.

2. Evaluate your savings goals.

Are you on track to hit the financial goals you set? Do you still need to, for example, build up your emergency savings fund?

Tip: Don’t get discouraged if you haven’t met your goals. Remember, a little can go a long way. And right now is always the best time to start.

3. Review your retirement contributions.

If your financial situation allows, it’s usually a good idea to maximize your retirement savings, particularly if you have individual retirement accounts.

If you didn’t hit your year-end target, see if you can catch up in the first quarter of 2018.

Tip: If you can boost contributions to your RRSPs by March 1, 2018, you can deduct part of the amount from your 2017 taxes.

4. Consider your charitable donations.

Helping those in need is the most important reason to give. But how you choose to pay for those donations also may cut your tax bill.

Tip: Live generously though planned giving is an intentional way to express your values. You don’t need great wealth to support organizations that matter most to you. The first step to a meaningful legacy is creating a plan that matches your interests and circumstances.

5. Inspect your insurance contracts.

Major life events such as marriage or a new baby can affect the amount and type of insurance you need. And if you’re starting your first job or changing careers, make sure to consider disability income insurance.

Tip: Employer-provided life insurance may not always be the most affordable option. Don’t be afraid to shop around – you could find a more cost-effective alternative to purchase on your own.

6. Prepare for the year ahead.

Look over your objectives from the beginning of last year, and make any changes you need for the coming year.

Now is also a great time to contact your financial representative for help with planning for 2018 – and farther down the road.

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Original article written by Thrivent Financial.

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