Follow This Year-End Financial Checklist

While this annus horribilis may not end soon enough, you don’t want 2020 to go by without some year-end personal finance support, as there are deadlines you might not be aware of. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to consider.

Complete your 401 (k) contributions

If you have not depleted your 401 (k), 403 (b) or 457 (b) accounts (up to $ 19,500 for 2020), you have until December 31st to top up your contributions. If your employer offers matching contributions, you’ll want to take full advantage of this if you can. In general, investing in retirement accounts is always a good idea: the more you save, the more compound interest you will use in your retirement fund. Plus, these contributions are tax deductible, which will reduce your taxable income this year.

Full collection of tax losses

With tax loss collection, you can write off investment losses by selling assets that are currently worth less than what you paid for them. These losses are then used to offset the capital gains recognized during the year, which effectively reduces your taxable income. The deadline for realizing investment losses is December 31st.

Consider the Roth transformation

If you find yourself in lower-than-expected tax income for the year due to disruptions in 2020 and your deferred tax retirement accounts have increased, you may want to consider a Roth conversion. Retirement accounts like 401 (k) tax deferral when you cash out, but with a Roth IRA, you pay taxes up front and watch your savings grow over time – you might save a lot of money in the form of taxes (a tax advisor will come in handy here). To learn more about the benefits of a Roth IRA, read this post on Lifehacker . The Roth conversion deadline is December 31st.

Use your credit card credits and benefits

Some credit card benefits expire at the end of the calendar year, so make sure you take advantage of any credit reports or threshold spending bonuses , especially if you’re already looking to make more purchases (for example, you may have an expiring $ 250 total loan trip so you can pay for the flight you plan to take in 2021). This is also a good time to take a look at your reimbursement card bonus spending categories and re-evaluate if they are optimized based on your current spending habits.

Use up your remaining FSA balance

Flexible bills through your employer can save you money on medical costs, but only if you use them. While some FSA’s allow for rollover until 2021, most are use-or-lose accounts where you will lose money forever. Remember to spend your FSA account by December 31st.

Add to your 529 posts

The beauty of the 529 College Savings Plan is that savings grow excluding taxes, and withdrawals are tax deductible if used to cover the cost of a qualified education later. In addition, some states allow withholding contributions, although not at the federal level. The contribution limit for 2020 is $ 15,000 and the deadline is December 31st.

Get a free credit report

There is no deadline on its own for free year-end credit reports, but it’s worth adding to your year-end checklist if you haven’t checked in a while. You are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit companies. Order online at


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