Your Complete Year-End Financial Checklist
Share this article:
As 2023 draws to a close and we prepare to usher in 2024, take a moment to go through this year-end financial checklist to ensure your finances are in order before the start of the new year.
Review Your Budget
Is your monthly budget still working well for you? Are you overstretching some spending categories or finishing each month in the red? Take some time to review your budget and make any necessary changes.
Top Off Your Retirement Plan
If you have a 401(k), check to see that you are taking full advantage of your employer’s matching contributions. If you haven’t contributed the maximum amount, consider catching up before the year-end deadline, (Dec. 31, 2023), with a limit of $22,500. If you turned 50 this year, you are eligible for an additional catch-up contribution of $7,500.
Similarly, if you have an IRA, you have until April 15 to reach the maximum contribution of $6,500, with an additional $1,000 allowed if you are aged 50 or older.
Check Your Progress on Debt Repayment
Give your debt an annual checkup by reviewing your outstanding debts from one year ago to what you now owe. Have you shed debt from one year ago, or is your debt growing? If you’ve made no progress, or your debt has grown, consider taking bigger steps toward paying it down in 2024, such as consolidating your debt with a personal loan from Ascend. Furthermore, if you anticipate getting a holiday bonus, consider putting this money toward your debt.
Obtain a Free Copy of Your Annual Credit Report
The end of the year is a great time for an annual credit checkup. It’s a good idea to review your statements each month to check for fraudulent charges, but you can also request a free copy of your credit report from all three credit agencies once a year. Look for accurate, updated information and any errors, like charges you don’t remember making, or other signs of possible identity theft. If you find any wrongful charges, be sure to dispute them immediately. If you bank with Ascend, make sure you register with SavvyMoney, our free credit score monitoring and analysis tool available through our digital banking platform. SavvyMoney provides free credit reports and utilizes soft inquiries that won’t impact your credit score.
Review Your Beneficiaries
Has your family situation changed in the past year? If it has, be sure to switch the beneficiaries on your accounts and life insurance policies to accommodate these changes.
Complete Open Enrollment and Select Employer Benefits
The end of the year coincides with open enrollment for some health insurance policies. This is your chance to select the employer benefits you want for the coming year. Missing this window means being locked into last year's benefits or having no benefits at all. Take advantage of this opportunity to tailor your coverage to best meet your needs.
Review Your Tax Withholdings
Annually review your W-4 to determine if adjustments are needed to the amount of tax withheld from each paycheck. Making slight adjustments can significantly impact your year-end tax bill, providing a larger paycheck throughout the year.
As the doors close on 2023, now is the perfect time to give your finances a full checkup. Use this checklist to make sure your money matters are not only in order but also strategically managed as we usher in the new year.