Don’t miss out on these last-minute money tasks for 2019. Take advantage of the time remaining this year to save money and improve your financial health in 2020.
If you’re reading this while relaxing after a delicious Thanksgiving meal, be sure to check out our previous blog post about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. What’s the difference? And do you really save money?
Last-Minute Money Tasks for 2019
- Max-Out Your Employer-Sponsored Retirement Account
If you have a 401(k) at work, check out the balance. You can contribute up to $19,000 this year, if you are under age 50, $25,000 if you are age 50 or older. This is one opportunity you don’t want to miss. If you are not on track to max out your 401(k) account, you have until the last pay period this year to catch up. Remember—investing in your 401(k) will save you money in taxes in 2019. It’s an easy way to invest in yourself.
- Do You Have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)?
Check the balance on your IRA and use these remaining weeks to reach your maximum contribution. You can make as much as $6,000 in tax-deductible contributions this year. If you are 50 years of age or older, your maximum tax-deductible contribution is $7,000.
- Organize Your Financial Documents
A key last-minute money task for 2019 is to start now. Don’t wait until the night before Tax Day to organize your financial records. Put together your financial records now because you might see that you are on target to pay more in taxes than you anticipated. Visit a tax preparer or accountant to help you uncover strategies you can take during December to protect you from a big tax bill.
- 529 College Savings Plan
If you have kids, contributing to their 529 college savings plan could save you money this year. More than 30 states offer a tax credit or tax deduction for college savings plan contributions. The maximum annual contribution level and amount of deductions vary by state. This is another reason to pull your financial documents together now and visit with a CPA.
- Health Savings Account
A Health Savings Account (HSA) can help you with those high deductibles on your health insurance plan. Try to max out your contributions, which is $3,500 for individuals and $7,000 for a family. Be sure to check with your employer to know what contributions have been made. The maximum contribution includes both yours and your employer’s. The good news is that you have until April 15 to make your 2019 contribution.
- Revise Your Withholding
On your list of last-minute money tasks for 2019 should be determining your tax liability.
If it looks like you are on track to owe money when you file your taxes, you should ask your employer to increase your withholding for the rest of the year. If you’ve taken on some side gigs to help you cover the budget this year, be sure to take that income into consideration too. The IRS tax-withholding estimator tool will help you determine if you need to increase the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck.
This also applies if you received a big refund last year. While getting a refund may be fun, in truth you are making a loan to the IRS. You need your money to help you meet your annual financial goals.
- Charitable Donations
If you are going to be itemizing deductions this year, take advantage of the time left in 2019 to make some charitable contributions. Make sure to keep a record of everything you are donating and what each item is worth. If you make a gift of more than $250, you will need a receipt from the charity stating that you made the gift freely without any quid pro quo. You may have many things around your home that you don’t use. These would be welcomed by relief organizations, and help you save money on your tax bill.
- Invest in Yourself
If you find yourself at the end of November and you still haven’t reached your savings targets, strategize right now about how you can move some December income into your savings accounts. This last-minute money task for 2019 will impact your financial health this year and in 2020. In addition to retirement accounts discussed above, build up your emergency savings. If you haven’t been as successful as you had hoped, take a look at the many apps on the market and start downloading now.