Monday, December 2, 2013

Some Year-End Tasks We Should All Do

We interrupt your cyber-shopping Monday to remind you of a bunch of tasks you may want to complete before the end of the year:

  • Pull your free credit reports and make sure all of the information in them is correct (find the legitimate, free credit report site here).
  • Do your Christmas shopping, a bit at a time, beginning now (so you don't end up being one of those people doing all of their shopping the day before Christmas featured on your local evening news).
  • Change all of your online passwords, delete old accounts, and back up your computer files (just some simple housekeeping tasks which often falls by the wayside but which are very important to do on a regular basis).
  • Consult with your CPA (or do the research yourself) and see if you need to: donate more to charity for additional tax write offs, contribute more to your Roth IRA or 401k, pay for education expenses before the end of the year, defer income until after the first of the year, etc.  Here are additional things you can do to improve your financial standing although I would hesitate to induce labor solely for financial gain.
  • Use your end of the year bonus to pay off a debt instead of blowing it at the mall.
  • If you have a FSA, HSA, vacation days, or other "use it or lose it" items that need to be run down by the end of the year, make a plan to do this.
  • If you are a senior remember that there are deadlines for signing up for Medicare (at 65) and pulling money out of your IRA (at 70) that are required.
  • Review your finances including your net worth and your investment accounts (you may want to make plans to improve these areas in the upcoming year).
  • Update your home inventory videos/spreadsheets, particularly after acquiring new, expensive items at Christmas.
  • Update your Will, Living Will, Power of Attorney, insurance beneficiaries, resume, etc.
  • Review your insurance coverages (for life, health, auto, home, etc)
  • Make sure you have an adequate reserve of cash on hand, at home, in a secure location
  • Donate non-financial items to charity (food banks often run low this time of year, homeless shelters can always use hygiene supplies, etc)
  • Take a short, winter camping trip
  • Practice shooting (even fair-weather shooters should practice in cold, miserable weather)
  • Instead of a list of new year's resolutions, set one huge, kick ass goal for 2014 and go for it


  1. Good tip on the bonus to pay off debt. I used to use my Christmas bonus to pay our yearly property taxes, due in January. Unfortunately - no more Christmas bonuses - times are tough. So I now begin donating a $100 minimum each paycheck after October for that specific purpose, by Christmas I'm pretty much done and won't have to couch dive for lunch money . . . :^)

  2. Good idea. I fondly remember the largess of the Christmas bonus in years past. Unfortunately I think it is a thing of the past for many people.