With the holidays right around the corner, 2009 has flown by. However, while another year has passed, your finances may not be any better than last year’s. It’s easy to put off savings and investment; after all you always have tomorrow to worry about saving for the kids’ college, or even your own retirement right?
The problem is that most investments take time, and the longer you put it off – the less time it has to mature and make you more money. So, don’t put it off for another year. Instead, here’s a list of things you should do (if you haven’t already) to get your finances in-check, and ready for another year.
1. If your employer matches a portion of your retirement contributions – maximize that before the year ends. Yes, this is more important than saving for your kid’s Christmas gifts. It’ll be a greater relief to them when you’re financially set during retirement and won’t have to rely on them.
2. Have children? If you plan on helping them with a down payment on a house, or maybe college before that, then now is the time to save. There are many different savings plans out there, and the cheapest way is to start early rather than try and contribute when the time comes.
3. Know your investments. Take some time, and review your portfolio. Keep in mind that long term investments choices can generally be more aggressive, while short term needs to be safer. The logic behind this is that the market will fluctuate significantly with aggressive investments, so if you’re not in a hurry to withdrawal the money – then you can afford to wait out the lows, whereas with short-term investments you can’t because you need the money sooner. So if you haven’t thought about your portfolio in awhile, maybe now is a good time to make sure you’re maximizing your returns.
4. Lastly, be sure to check your flexible spending accounts, floating holidays, and anything that doesn’t roll over to the next year, and spend it/use it before it’s too late.
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