Give yourself a year-end financial checkup This content is categorized as: Finances As each year comes to a close, many of us begin creating a list of goals and aspirations for the New Year. Among the most common New Year’s resolutions are to exercise more, eat healthier, spend more time with family and friends and live more economically. For those looking to improve money matters or if you want to start January off on the right foot, a year-end financial checkup is a valuable way to create an informed financial strategy. Even if you haven’t kept up to speed the rest of the year, making time for a financial checkup at year’s end can give your budget a boost, proactively flag potential concerns and put you on track toward a stronger financial future. Get the full checkup. Download now Take these eight steps now: Contribute to your retirement accounts. If you work for a company that matches your 401(k) contribution, try to contribute at least up to the percentage they match. Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table. Make your required minimum withdrawal from your IRA. Do you have a traditional IRA? Starting at 72*, the IRS requires you to withdraw a certain amount each year, known as a required minimum distribution (RMD). Use up your flexible spending account (FSA). Find out the deadline for using this money if you have an FSA, since you will lose it if you don’t use it by the deadline. Think through your holiday spending. Now is the time to also think about paying down any debt or padding your emergency fund. Check your credit reports. If you haven’t checked your credit reports in the last 12 months, the end of the year is a great time to do so. Consider year‑end charitable giving. In addition to using your dollars to support a cause you are passionate about; many charitable contributions of money or property are also tax deductible. Assess the last 12 months. Reflect on how you did this year from a financial standpoint. Think about what went right and what would you like to adjust. Plan for the next 12 months. If your assessment of the past year calls for some changes, use that information to start planning for the new year. Just like getting your free annual credit report, meeting with your financial professional before year’s end allows you to take a closer look at the current state of your financial health. Together you can reflect on the past twelve months, review your short- and long-term goals and decide if any changes need to be made. With a proper plan in place, you can feel more confident about the New Year and staying on course toward your future dreams. This information is brought to you by Athene — where unconventional thinking brings innovative annuity solutions to help make your retirement dreams a reality. *Historically, federal tax law has set the required beginning age for RMDs at age 70 ½. However, recently enacted federal legislation increases the required beginning age for those born on or after July 1, 1949, to age 72. If you were born before July 1, 1949, your required beginning age for taking RMDs remains age 70 ½.