Your Mid-Year Money Checkup
By Taylor Schulte, AdviceIQ (TNS)
This time of year presents a great opportunity to slow down and look at the financial progress you’ve made in 2015.
How are you tracking against goals you set in January, and do you have an opportunity to save more, give to a cause, or reduce this year’s taxes?
Here are a few tips for doing a proper mid-year review:
— Review 401(k) contributions. The limit on what you can kick into your workplace retirement plan increased to $18,000 this year ($24,000 if you’re older than 50). Look at your year-to-date numbers to make sure you remain on track to maximize contributions. In addition to helping increase your account balance, maxing out contributions can also reduce your taxable income.
— Boost savings. With less than half a year to go, review your current savings and consider boosting your recurring contribution even a small amount. And true, while summer can drain your finances, challenge yourself to spend less and save more.
— Cut more fees. Maybe you already examined all your pesky credit card and bank fees earlier this year. But banks change rules often, and you may learn that you now shell out for a new or hidden fee on something that was previously free. Every fee you pay means less money in your pocket.
— Remember taxes. The next filing date for most of us is still months off, so we aren’t quite ready to talk in detail about taxes. But you should still put yourself in the best possible financial position now for when the day comes.
Get (or remain) in touch with your accountant to discuss your 2015 estimate. You still have plenty of time left in the year to mitigate tax consequences.
— Give to others. Speaking of what you owe the government, charitable giving is a great way to minimize taxes and contribute to your favorite cause. Americans gave a total of $358 billion to charity last year, up more than 7 percent from 2013, according to National Philanthropic Trust. You may also want to check with your employer about a program for matching donations.
— Get to know your investments again. While I am a big proponent of the buy-and-hold strategy and letting investments be, now may be a good time to keenly re-examine your portfolio with an eye to determining your appetite for risk.
How much risk do you need to take to reach your financial goals? You might find out that although you can tolerate — even enjoy — intense risk, you don’t need to take it.
Even if you’re not completely on track today, there’s still plenty of 2015 left to focus on financial goals.
Photo: MoneyBlogNewz via Flickr