– Create a business holiday spending plan
– Use your business credit card rewards
– Create or update your business goals
– Prepay tax-deductible business expenses
– Maximize a retirement account
– Get more from your medical insurance
– Boost your retirement savings rate
While the last months of the year can be a hectic time in your professional and personal life, it’s also the ideal time to make strategic money moves for a more prosperous New Year.
7 money moves for a prosperous New Year
1. Create a business holiday spending plan
If you don’t already have a business holiday budget, consider what you can realistically afford to spend. Make a list of every holiday-related expense you’ll need to fit into your budget, like hosting a party, cards for prior clients and gifts for coworkers and service providers you regularly work with.
Then, assign an estimated dollar amount for each purchase or gift and total your list.
If your estimated holiday expenses are over budget, consider ways to make it more manageable. If you wait until the last minute to think about holiday giving, you’ll have fewer options, feel more stress and spend more.
2. Use your business credit card rewards
If you use business credit cards, they probably offer rewards, like points for travel, purchases and gift cards. Some may require you to activate specific spending categories, so pay attention to bonus offers, and sign up to maximize your rewards.
Many card issuers offer additional rewards for purchases made through their online shopping portals, giving you more points for every purchase. However, some rewards may expire at the end of the year, so log into your account and take advantage of them. They might help you purchase gifts or other holiday-related items on your shopping list.
3. Create or update your business goals
Set some business New Year’s resolutions as the year ends. Think carefully about what goals you want to achieve in the coming year, such as prospecting targets, advertising, closings and taking time off.
Consider coordinating your objectives with your brokerage so you’re aligned.
4. Prepay tax-deductible business expenses
Another smart year-end money move is to pay or prepay as many tax-deductible business expenses as possible. Here are a few to consider:
- Education: Costs for continuing education, training, books and conferences.
- Marketing: Costs for advertising your business and listings, such as home magazines, social media, websites and billboards.
- Insurance: Premiums for various coverages like errors and omissions, commercial auto and a business owner’s policy.
- Home office: If you use part of your home exclusively for business, you may be able to deduct a portion of your residential expenses, such as mortgage interest, rent, utilities and maintenance.
- Professional fees: Costs for accountants, attorneys and consultants for your business may be deductible.
5. Maximize a retirement account
Every pre-tax dollar you contribute to a traditional retirement plan, such as an IRA, SEP-IRA, or solo 401(k), is money you skip paying income tax on until you make future withdrawals.
For instance, if you make $100,000 and put $20,000 in a SEP-IRA for 2023, you only pay income tax on $80,000 for the year. You get that fantastic tax benefit even if you don’t itemize deductions on your tax return.
Note that some retirement accounts, such as an IRA and SEP-IRA, don’t have a year-end deadline but give you until your tax filing deadline, including any extensions, to contribute for the prior year.
6. Get more from your medical insurance
Your health insurance benefits and deductibles get tied to an annual schedule. So, year-end is the perfect time to squeeze more value from your medical policies. If you’ve already met your yearly deductibles, you can save money by scheduling needed appointments and paying for healthcare before the end of the year. Otherwise, your deductibles will reset to zero starting on Jan. 1.
Note that the annual open enrollment for marketplace health coverage begins on Nov. 1 for coverage to start as soon as Jan. 1. During open enrollment, you can visit Heathcare.gov to sign up for a new health and dental plan or change your current policies.
If you miss the annual healthcare open enrollment, you won’t be able to purchase a marketplace plan unless you have a qualifying life event, such as losing your job, getting married, having a child, or relocating to a new state. However, you can shop plans designed for the self-employed, such as HBG Solo, any time during the year.
7. Boost your retirement savings rate
The end of the year is an excellent time to increase your retirement savings rate for the following year. Use your online retirement account to make contribution changes or ask your account custodian for help.
Some investing firms allow you to automatically increase your saving rate by 1% at the beginning of each year. If you have that feature in your retirement account, set an automatic escalation so you won’t have to think about it next year.
Laura Adams is an award-winning financial author, podcaster and spokesperson.
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