5. Set your sights clearly. They suggest deciding well in advance the destiny of any year-end bonuses. This will prevent splurging to some extent. In my company, we don’t receive our bonuses until February or March. The delay prevents me from using the money for holiday gifts. In the past, my bonus has gone to pay for regular expenses at my regular income’s shortcoming, but that probably won’t be the case this year.
6. Make some adjustments. Consult an accountant who can help you speed up or slow down tax payments or self employment income, or adjust your withholding for next year so you won’t have to later. Speaking of adjustments, it might also be a good time to take a look at your investment asset allocation. If one part of your investments performed very well or poorly, your allocation may be out of whack with your goals.
7. Play catch-up. The maximum 401(k) contribution for most people in 2007 is $15,500. I won’t hit that mark without a significant raise, but for people like us, Money suggests increasing contributions by a percentage point. I plan to hold my contribution steady at 12% of my income.
8. Have the talk. “In your life, there’s probably a difficult financial conversation that you’ve been meaning to have with a family member but haven’t gotten around to. Maybe it’s talking with your parents about their retirement finances or discussing long-term financial goals with your spouse.” Money believes the holidays are a good time to have this talk. I talked with my mom about her retirement over Thanksgiving, and that’s a topic for another day.
In general, these are good reminders from Money Magazine. A few tweaks here and there would help the set of tips apply to my life.
Published or updated November 28, 2006.