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MEDIA CENTER

End of Year Financial Checkup

The busy holiday season is upon us and soon enough we will be welcoming the New Year. But are you financially ready? “This time of year is so hectic and many people don’t realize they may need to make some financial decisions”, states Jana Castanon, spokesperson for Apprisen. “There are things you need to review, and if necessary make changes to, before the end of the year.” Set aside a few minutes to complete this financial checkup to assist you. 
 

  • Adjust your withholding. If you got a big refund last year, and have similar income and expenses this year, consider reducing your withholding. The extra money in your paycheck can be used to pay down debt or put in a savings account. If your financial situation has changed and you don’t know what your taxes will be, you can go to the IRS website and use the estimated tax calculator to help you. With that information you can adjust your withholding accordingly. 

  • Review your investments. Now is the time to consider selling any underperforming investments. Any losses you incur from the sale may be able to offset your overall gains.

  • Maximize your retirement account requirements. If you have a 401k or IRA and you have not reached your contribution limit for the year, consider making a deposit to get the full benefit on your taxes. Likewise, if you are required to take a distribution it is important that you do so. If you don’t the IRS might charge you a steep penalty. 

  • Empty your Flexible Spending Accounts. These accounts could be expiring by the end of the year.  If not then, they will almost certainly expire by March or April. Check the allowable expenses for FSA and use that as a guide to spend the money left in your account. If your dependent care or transportation spending accounts have money left over, there is not much you can do to incur extra expenses. Next year, make sure you adjust the amount you deposit into these accounts so you won’t lose money.

  • Decide on charitable contributions. Review the amount you have given to charities over the course of the year. If necessary, make a donation to a charity which may help you when you file your taxes next year.

  • Take advantage of insurance deductibles. If you know you will have medical, dental, or vision needs in the near future, schedule the appointments before the end of the year.  Chances are you have already reached your insurance deductibles for the year and these appointments will cost you more next year when your deductibles reset.          

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Apprisen, a national nonprofit credit counseling agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt for over 55 years. Certified counselors provide money management and debt counseling, HUD-approved housing counseling, and financial education. Services are provided in 10 states through local offices and nationally by phone or via the Internet. The oldest nonprofit credit counseling organization in the country, Apprisen was formerly known in its local communities as Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). Accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), CCCS is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and AICCCA. Information is available 24/7. Call 800-355-2227 or visit the website, www.Apprisen.com. You can "like us" on Facebook at  www.facebook.com/Apprisen  and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Apprisen.

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