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Financial Tips for Fall

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As we’re enjoying the Colorado fall colors, we’re also heading into the last financial quarter of the year. There’s plenty of time to look at where you are financially and make some changes before the new year.

Assess your tax situation. Whether you’re self-employed or you get a W-2, you don’t have to be shocked each year when you file your tax return about whether you owe, get a refund, or broke even on taxes. Contact your tax preparer and ask for a tax planning appointment. You’ll need to bring in the documents asked for and you can adjust your tax withholding or quarterly estimates accordingly. Remember, no one likes to pay lots of taxes in April, but a big tax refund is just an interest free investment you made with the IRS, so don’t see it as a great idea for you.

Be sure you’ve contributed to your favorite charities. Non-profits are accustomed to getting a surge in contributions toward the end of the year. Many people use the last few months of the year to contribute because it allows them to assess their ability to give. If the charities you give to help those in need around the holidays, the sooner they get your cash contributions, the better they can assess their ability to help at that time. So feel free to get out your checkbook now.

Maximize your retirement plan contributions. There are some retirement contributions – IRA, Roth IRAs, SEP and some others if you’re self-employed – that you can make for this year after December 31 and before you file your taxes for this year. But if you work for a company with some of the more popular plans – 401k, 403b, 457, and several others – you can only contribute to the plan through paycheck withholdings and must do it for this year before December 31. So take this opportunity to contribute as much as you can. If your employer does a match to some of your contributions, make sure you put in that much.

You can reassess your finances any time of year and now is always a good time.

-Linda Leitz