End-of-Year Financial Planning Tips

The end of a calendar year offers an ideal time to take stock of your financial picture, both the year in review as well as future goals or challenges. 


Even when retired, money stays on the mind, especially for seniors who may be living on a fixed income or have limited resources.


Before turning the calendar to celebrate the New Year, take a moment to review end-of-year financial tips to keep your financial house in order.



Secure Important Life Documents

A Gallup poll in 2020 found that just under half of Americans have a will. While seniors tend to create wills more than other age groups, it’s important to review life documents at any stage of life. Three critical documents are:


  • A will or trust that clearly states your intended beneficiaries
  • A living will that directs healthcare professionals and your family how to manage your care or end-of-life directives
  • A durable power of attorney that gives someone legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable.


While securing these documents with a legal advisor may require a fee, the money spent is well worth the money saved down the road.



Review Spending and Budget

Each New Year represents an ideal opportunity to start over. Whether you ended the year feeling confident about your finances or felt discouraged over excessive expenses, now is the time to face the hard numbers. Even if your finances aren’t automated, banks, credit card companies and brokerage companies can all produce a report that shows general expenses and income. If you feel overwhelmed, ask a trusted family member or friend to help you review your finances and set a budget for the new year.



Think about Tax Documents

Thinking about taxes around the holidays may feel counterintuitive. Isn’t April several months away still? While taxes aren’t due until then, you have time now to affect your overall tax picture.


  • Healthcare decisions affect finances. If you’ve met your deductible, consider any medical follow-ups or appointments to schedule in this year. Visit with your primary care physician about needed well visits or check-ups.
  • Tax laws have changed around charitable donations. Visit the IRS to read updates and decide upon further deductions this year.
  • Big life changes can affect your tax picture. Take time now to think about your own life. Did you sell a house or move? Are there now children or grandchildren living with you? Did a serious illness result in more medical expenses? Make a list of any changes to review with an advisor.



Get Organized

Time moves fast. Before we know it, the end-of-year is here and we’ve procrastinated on finding important papers, cleaning out that file or asking for help. We rely on our memories but it’s not uncommon to forget important matters. It’s time to face that cluttered box in the closet or stack of papers in the corner. Quite likely, there’s something there we forgot that could affect our finances or taxes. 


Managing finances is an everyday event. Taking note at the end of the year can help you feel even more prepared for whatever the New Year brings.



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