In the weeks before the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, consider improving your personal finances. Laura covers seven tips to manage money better and hit your financial goals this year.
The New Year is when most people resolve to get their health and wealth back on track. But there are some great ways to manage money better that can only be accomplished before the year ends.
While I can’t help you resist holiday sweets or a second trip to the buffet, I can recommend simple ways to improve your personal finances before January arrives.
7 Ways to Manage Money Better at Year-End
- Make the most of your medical insurance.
- Drain your flexible spending account (FSA).
- Contribute the maximum to your retirement plan at work.
- Boost your retirement savings rate.
- Don't forget your required minimum distribution (RMD).
- Make charitable donations.
- Review your emergency documents and account beneficiaries.
Use these seven tips to manage money better and hit your financial goals this year.
1. Make the most of your medical insurance.
When it comes to medical expenses, year-end is the time when you can squeeze more value out of your health, dental, and vision policies. Your benefits and deductible are tied to an annual schedule.
If you’ve already met your annual deductibles, you can save money by scheduling appointments and paying for healthcare goods and services before the end of the year. Otherwise, starting on January 1, your deductible resets.
In other words, take advantage of the time each year after you reach your deductible so you can get your insurance company to pay for as much of your medical expenses as possible. Delaying appointments means you could end up paying more than you have to.
But don’t go overboard on appointments because plans typically have a maximum number of visits for services such as doctor checkups, dental cleanings, physical therapy, and prescription eyeglasses. If you’re not sure if you’ve maxed out your insurance benefits for the year, ask your doctor's or dentist’s office to find out what’s covered.
Take advantage of the time each year after you reach your deductible so you can get your insurance company to pay for as much of your medical expenses as possible.
2. Empty your flexible spending account (FSA).
If you have an FSA, it’s also linked to the calendar year. These spending plans are offered by many employers to help you save on a pre-tax basis for certain expenses—such as child care and medical bills—not covered by insurance.
However, there’s a deadline to spend your money in an FSA each year or you forfeit most of the excess. This is known as the “use it or lose it” rule. The cutoff varies by company, but it’s typically December 31.