Financial Planning for the Year Ahead

Tips for wrapping up this year and getting a jump start on the next

November 2017

The end of the year is fast approaching and may be consumed with end-of-the year and holiday related activities and events. With so much going on, it’s not uncommon for people to be thinking of things other than finances. It’s important to note that it’s not too late to review your financial plan for this year and next year to see if you can save yourself time and money.

Savings Tips

Do you know that you can have multiple savings accounts? In addition to your general savings account, you can use other accounts for specific purposes such as saving for holiday spending, travel, a new vehicle, or a home. By using separate savings accounts, you can easily see progress toward your saving goals. Make deposits into your account periodically or have a specific amount transferred automatically every week or month. You may want to consider a holiday or travel savings account but be sure to find out if they have withdrawal and other restrictions.

Corning Credit Union offers a Holiday Club account which gives you a chance to save throughout the year. The funds from this account are automatically transferred to your share savings account on October 1st giving you plenty of time for holiday shopping.

College Financial Aid

Do you have kids in college or starting college in 2018? You can submit the FAFSA for the 2018-2019 school year now. Submitting it sooner can be better because some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first served basis and funds are limited.

Healthcare Tips

Fall is the time of the year to review your healthcare coverage and determine what changes you should make for 2018. You can usually make changes to employer provided healthcare benefits during the open enrollment period offered toward the end of the year. Open enrollment for insurance obtained through the Affordable Care Act is much shorter this year and runs from November 1st to December 15th. Open enrollment for Medicare runs from October 15th to December 7th.

If you have a Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you should spend the balance in the account before the end of the year or you will lose it. Your account may allow a carryover of up to $500 for next year. Review your expenses for this year and determine if you need to change your contribution for next year.

Retirement Savings Tips

Are you contributing the maximum to your 401(k) or another tax-advantaged retirement plan? If not, consider increasing your contributions for this year and next. The contribution limit for 2017 is $18,000 and increases to $18,500 in 2018. Those age 50 and over can contribute another $6,000.

Tax Tips

If you itemize deductions, you can deduct contributions you make to qualified charitable organizations. You will need to make any contributions before December 31st to deduct them from this year's taxes.

If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you do not have to use the funds in the same year in which you contributed them. This is a good incentive to consider making the maximum contribution each year.



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