It’s that time of year again. The end of the year is fast approaching; and it’s time to start thinking about money moves to set yourself up for financial success next year. This blog post will focus on 15 money moves that you should consider making before the end of this year. We’ll explore how these strategic money moves will help you achieve your financial goals for the upcoming new year. These money moves are not just for business owners – anyone, no matter their occupation, can do these tasks!
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Review and update your budget
Now is an excellent time to review your spending over the year and update your budget for next year.
You should have a good idea about how you spent money over the past year. You should also generally know where your money goes month to month; now it’s time for that information to be useful!
Make sure you update your budget with this new data. Doing so will help you to stay well aware of spending habits moving forward into 2022.
Budget for the holidays
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year celebrations are just around the corner. And while it is one of the jolliest times of the year, it can also significantly burden your wallet.
This year, be prepared for the holiday season with a budget! Plan out how much money you will spend on gifts and celebrations. You don’t want an unpleasant come-down after the champagne toast at midnight next December 31st.
If money has been tight throughout 2021, it might not make sense to celebrate as extravagantly this New Year; even though social pressures demand otherwise!
Get a free copy of your credit report
You can obtain your free credit report once a year from one of the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion) by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. You can view your credit score for free through the same website. It will show you how your transactions are impacting your credit score over time.
In Canada, you can obtain your credit report directly from the credit bureaus.
Remember that a high credit utilization ratio is not good. It means you have spent significant amounts of money on credit, and there’s very little left in assets.
You can learn more about credit scores and the factors that affect them here.
Now is also an excellent opportunity to identify any errors on your credit report and dispute them. Credit report errors can prevent you from getting a loan or even result in higher interest rates!
Make a plan to pay off debt
It’s time to make arrangements for you to get out of debt once and for all! If you owe creditors in the form of credit card bills or loans, you should take concrete steps this year towards reducing these debts.
No matter how small these steps may seem, they take you in the right financial direction.
Debt repayment options include transferring balances from high-interest rate cards onto one with a lower APR (interest).
It could also include setting up automatic payments through your bank account directly towards the highest-interest debt.
Other ideas might involve getting another job part-time or perhaps doing some freelance work from home on the side.
Re-balance your assets
It’s always a good idea to keep your investment portfolio balanced in terms of asset allocation.
Portfolio re-balancing means having an appropriate percentage invested into stocks, bonds, and other investments based on how much risk you are willing to tolerate for higher returns.
If stock prices skyrocketed over the past year (or if they plummeted), it might make sense now to re-balance by selling off some positions that did very well.
In turn, you can use that money for better purposes elsewhere in 2021 and beyond.
Take advantage of tax-loss harvesting
Tax-loss harvesting is also known as tax-loss selling. It is a strategic way to save money by selling off investments that have lost value for a tax write-off.
It occurs when an investor sells an investment at a loss. The investor can then use the funds to buy back a reasonably similar asset hoping that its value will increase eventually.
There are generally two reasons for engaging in tax-loss harvesting:
- Offset realized capital gains from another asset you own
- Use the losses as a deduction against other income (like salary or interest) on your current year’s taxes
If you did not sell any assets at a loss this year, it’s not too late. Consider using the tax-loss harvesting if you have any assets that have dropped below their original value.
Not only can doing so be profitable down the line but imagine how great you will feel next April when the CRA or Uncle Sam cuts you a check!
Make charitable donations before year-end
If you have any cash left over at the end of December, consider using it on something worthwhile.
For instance, donating food or clothing rather than wasting it around thanksgiving time when all stores are offering deep discounts.
Charitable giving is also tax-deductible, which means that it can save you money on your taxes.
So if this is what you plan to do with any extra cash lying around – make sure to get a receipt from the charity and hold onto it for tax time.
Make a list of business expenses for tax purposes
To save money on taxes at year-end, you should make a list right now about every single one of your business-related expenses throughout 2021.
Expenses may include everything from office supplies used in operations or vehicles used during work hours; maybe even trips out of town related to company activities?
Add these costs together by month and then add them up across the entire year. The sum will provide an accurate figure when making income projections for next year’s tax filing period.
If you haven’t already done so this year, be sure to make the most of tax deductions!
Max out your retirement savings
Tax-exempt accounts such as RRSP, TFSA, 401(k), IRA, or Roth plans provide excellent opportunities for Canadians and Americans who want to save on taxes while saving towards their retirement.
Reviewing the amount of money you have in tax-exempt accounts and making strategic moves to contribute more could be a smart move for 2021 taxes, so make sure you account for this when planning your finances!
Even if you can’t fully max out your tax-exempt accounts, consider making a strategic contribution to make the most of tax-exempt contributions for 2021 taxes.
For example, if you can’t afford to max out your RRSP account at this point – try using all non-registered savings and add them to your RRSP as appropriate for your situation.
The same goes with TFSAs and other types of plans such as 401(k)s or IRAs.
Invest into your home or real estate
If you own an investment property, consider refinancing it in 2021 before interest rates start creeping back up again.
If possible, try not to take out another line of credit on top of what is already owed on your house so that there’s no risk of over-leveraging yourself when making financial decisions moving forward.
Refinancing could be beneficial if other banks are offering lower mortgage rates at the moment compared with your current mortgage interest rate.
If you plan on moving this upcoming year or want short-term financial flexibility, think about downsizing or renting out part of what you currently own.
You could even move back in with your parents temporarily if it’s a more affordable option. Whatever you decide, make sure that you choose based on what makes most financial sense for yourself and your family!
Optimize Home Deductions
Optimizing home deductions can be a fairly complicated move. If this idea appeals to you, consult with an accountant about the best course of action for your situation.
With things like property tax payments, home improvement costs, and mortgage interest payments adding up over the year – there are many deductions available that homeowners should consider taking advantage of to reduce taxable income come April next year!
Be sure to keep track of all relevant money transactions throughout 2021 because it will help simplify deductions even more, when filing time rolls around.
Find life insurance
It can be challenging to find time to do this, but shopping for life insurance is something everyone needs.
The longer it’s left, the more expensive premiums tend to get because of increased risk factors.
There are many different policies available through various providers, which makes comparing quotes and plans even easier to make strategic moves that work best with your lifestyle.
For example, term-life or whole-life coverage could both be good options depending on what you need to be covered!
Review your beneficiaries
Reviewing your beneficiaries may seem like an odd money move.
Still, it makes lots of sense if you take some time this year to check who you have designated as beneficiaries on various accounts such as retirement savings plans or other financial instruments (life insurance policies, etc.).
Make sure everyone listed still fits into the picture financially – including yourself since we never know what the future holds. Also, make sure that their contact information is up-to-date; Doing so will simplify money matters greatly should anything happen.
If you don’t already have an accountant (and most Canadians/Americans don’t), consider looking into finding one who specializes in tax preparation before next April rolls around.
They may know about certain deductions and loopholes that you may not know and could help save considerable amounts of money on your taxes.
Review last year’s money moves
Finally, don’t forget about going back over your 2021 income statements.
This exercise will help you know exactly how much should be deducted from next year’s taxes. Deductions will depend on whether or not they are business expenses (for those who are self-employed) or personal expenses (for those who work a traditional job).
If you haven’t done so already, make sure to talk with your accountant about what you can deduct from next year’s income taxes!
Don’t wait until the last minute to start thinking about strategic end-of-the-year financial moves! Start planning now and set yourself up for success in 2022!
There are many strategic money moves to make at the end of this year that can set you up financially for next year.
These are just some of the things people should do before December 31st each year. One could make many more financial moves before the New Year begins, such as getting professional help from experts like accountants and financial planners, thinking about being strategic with charitable gifts, or setting up an estate plan.
Now is the time of year when people reflect on what has happened over the past 12 months and prepare for the future – which means taking good care of money matters!
What do you plan to finish strong in 2021? Comment below!