10 Things to Review in Your Year-End Finances

As the New Year approaches, it is good to reflect on 2013 and prepare for 2014. Here are 10 items to review within your financial strategy as the year wraps up.

As the New Year approaches, it is good to reflect on 2013. Here are 10 items to review within your financial strategy as the year wraps up:

1. Health insurance

With all of the changes with Obamacare, as well as smaller changes with each employer, it is important to review what your coverage will look like and understand your deductibles, co-pays and other financial responsibilities so you can plan ahead.

You should also review your health savings account options and fund this vehicle for a 2013 tax deduction up until April of 2014.

2. Gifting

All gifting of money and monetary instruments must be completed by Dec. 31. Any person can gift any other person $14,000 in 2013 without a taxable event occurring. (So any couple can gift one person $28,000.)

3. Taxes

Be on the lookout for your W-2 and/or 1099s for your income and get them to your accountant ASAP. Don’t wait until the last minute to get your taxes done.

4. Charitable contributions

When itemizing your taxes, you can deduct your charitable contributions. If you’re looking for another tax break and to do some good around the holidays, document any philanthropy to non-profit or 501(c)3 organizations to write off against your income.

5. Review your property and casualty insurance

A quick email to your insurance agent requesting to review your rates for your auto, home and umbrella insurance can make them earn their keep and save you money. Working with an Independent agent who can shop around among different carriers is key.

6. Update wills, trusts and beneficiaries

Is your estate planning in good order? Are all assets accounted for in your trust?

7. Check interest rates

If carrying a balance on credit cards, can you get a better rate elsewhere? Are your student loans a good candidate for private consolidation? Have you taken advantage of near historically low interest rates by refinancing your mortgage or auto loan?

8. Disability insurance review

Quite a bit has changed with pricing and terms of own-occupation and specialty specific income coverage for physicians. Having an independent review of your coverage can potentially save you quite a bit on your premiums.

9. Pull credit score

Tracking and monitoring your credit is important and federal law allows you to pull a free credit report once a year without affecting your score. Two good resources are www.creditkarma.com and www.annualcreditreport.com.

10. Make goals for 2014

Assess your priorities and write down your goals. Having a written and established goal that you can be reminded of helps guide your financial decisions throughout the year and police your decisions. Why is money important to you?

Jon C. Ylinen is a Financial Advisor with North Star Resource Group and offers securities and investment advisory services through CRI Securities, LLC. and Securian Financial Services, Inc., Members FINRA/SIPC. CRI Securities, LLC. is affiliated with Securian Financial Services, Inc. and North Star Resource Group. North Star Resource Group is not affiliated with Securian Financial Services, Inc. Financial Advisors do not provide specific tax/legal/mortgage advice and this information should not be considered as such. You should always consult your tax/legal/mortgage advisor regarding your own specific tax/legal/mortgage situation. 777163/ DOFU 12-2013.