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6 smart money moves to make for the new year

What we'll cover

  • Tips to financially prepare for the new year

  • A year-end financial checklist

  • Retirement contribution and tax prep

The impending new year is the perfect time to review your finances and prepare for the year ahead. This year-end financial checklist can help you be financially prepared for the new year.

1. Review your financial plan

A solid financial plan is the blueprint for your money management success. Now is the ideal time to review how you're doing against your financial goals . Identify areas for improvement when it comes to both spending and saving. Set the stage now for any changes you'd like to make in the year ahead.

Now is the ideal time to review how you're doing against your financial goals.

2. Enroll in your employee benefits

The end of the year is the time when many employers offer open enrollment for employee benefits . Take the time to review your benefit options and enroll you and your family in a health insurance plan. And don't forget about additional benefits like life and disability insurance, paid time off, parental leave and retirement plans.

3. Assess your investments

As the year draws to a close, take a close look at the performance of your investments. You can make a plan to rebalance your portfolio in the year ahead if needed. And if you want to put your investments on cruise control, consider automating  with Ally Invest.

4. Max out your retirement contributions

The end of the calendar year is your last chance to max out your 401(k) . In 2023, the maximum amount you can contribute is $22,500. Contributing as much as possible to your future self can significantly boost your retirement savings. But maxing out your 401(k) is not always the right choice. Consider your income, debt and other financial goals before deciding if it makes sense for you.

5. Prepare for tax time

It may be hard to believe, but the tax deadline comes around fast each year. Get ahead by preparing now . Start gathering documents and decide whether you'll tackle your taxes yourself or hire a professional. When tax time rolls around, you'll be thankful you had the foresight. Remember to discuss any questions with a tax professional.

6. Look at your charitable contributions

Deducting charitable contributions can lower your overall tax burden, but for them to count for the 2023 tax year, you must make them by December 31, 2023, and your total charitable contributions must exceed the standard deduction. If they do, you need to itemize them via Schedule A of IRS Form 1040. If not, you can take the standard deduction when filing your return but not an additional charitable deduction. Typically, the amount of charitable cash contributions you can deduct is limited to 60% of your adjusted gross income.

Bonus: Consider estate planning

Make planning for your financial future part of your New Year's resolutions. Comprehensive estate planning enables your assets and debts to be easily settled in the event of your death. Establishing a will, power of attorney and reviewing your beneficiaries are all part of smart planning. If you've already documented your wishes, take a few minutes to review details to make sure nothing has changed.

Set yourself up for success

The new year is all about fresh starts. Before you flip the calendar, take some steps to get your money management in order. Planning ahead can help set the stage for your best financial year yet.

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