You may also be asked to make charitable contributions at the end of the year.
Have children? Why don't you give this 529 college savings plan a cash boost before you start the new year? Even better if your state offers a tax deduction for contributions to a 529 plan.
If you have stocks that have declined, it may be wise to sell them and use the losses to offset other capital gains, experts recommend.
All of these suggestions make sense, but are unrealistic or irrelevant to many people.
How likely is it that you can say to your employer, "Hey, just roll my last paychecks into my 401 (k) so I can get as close as possible to the $ 19,000 limit?"
In my experience, people who can fully utilize their company retirement account started this long before the end of the year. You cannot make after-tax savings to fund this account. So you would have to plan to have the pre-tax money deducted from your paycheck. It is unlikely that anyone could make a flat fee of 401 (k) in the last months or weeks of the year unless they receive a huge year-end bonus.
I laugh at the charity recommendation as if a lot of people said, "Shoot, thanks for reminding me of this great tax deduction. I wanted to send a check for $ 3,000 to my favorite charity. "
The average working-class family lives from paycheck to paycheck. You have trouble making ends meet. So there is no additional money to make money at the end of the year.
So what can you do before December 31st? Here are some steps that are both practical and doable.
●Subtract your monthly bank and / or credit card statements for the past year, I realize that you would probably rather have a root canal than follow this advice. But there is a purpose that could be a painful process. You must have your financial truth. And you can't if you don't have truthful information. People will tell me, "I don't eat much." But their bank or credit card statements tell a different story. Before you make financial resolutions for the new year, you should carefully assess your spending for 2019.
● Add up all your debts. Knowing what your debt is can be a powerful motivator for aggressive repayments.
● Sum of your savings. Yes, that number may not exist or be pitiful, but you have to face what it is. The goal is to improve it by 2020.
● Check your retirement account. Experts advise against babysitting your 401 (k) money by watching it all year round. This could cause you to make rash moves that cost you money. At the end of the year, however, is a good time to check whether you are saving enough. Perhaps in 2020 you can increase the percentage of your salary that you invest in retirement.
● Review your social security statement. This statement contains important information about your earnings records, estimated benefits, and how much you or your family would receive if you were disabled, for a survivor, or for an old age pension. Open an online account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.
● Make a statement of assets. After creating your bank statements and counting your debts and savings, put everything together – assets minus liabilities – and determine your net worth. You can get help with the calculator at www.investopedia.com/net-worth/demo.
● List your financial highs and lows for 2019, All cars are equipped with a rear-view mirror, which increases the driver's awareness. You can also use it to change lanes safely. When it comes to your money, a look back can help you make future changes. Looking back on the year. If you don't like what you see, decide how you want to change the course.
You can make fun of this list of end-of-the-year items if you have too much work. Or you may not be doing the job because you fear what you will find.
But I have a question for you when 2019 ends: why don't you know you work for you?
Readers can contact Michelle Singletary of the Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To read the previous Color of Money columns, go to http://wapo.st/michelle-singletary.