The new year is just around the corner. What money moves have you made? Check out 6 year-end money moves for a better financial year in 2016.
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Amy Nickson On 4th Apr,16
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How was your 2015? Did you achieve all the goals that you set last year? If yes, then congrats, and if not, then here is another chance to start a new race. Start setting some smart money moves before the end of the year. Thus, you’ll be able to organize your money in a proper shape by next year. Those who’ve already made their year financially successful can consider these money moves to add an extra feather on their crown.

1. Get enrolled in Healthcare coverage for 2016

You should review your health care coverage or get enrolled in a new coverage at the end of the year. If you miss the chance to get enrolled in 2016 health insurance, then you need to qualify for a special enrollment period. If you don’t have coverage in 2016, then you should pay a fee, which is higher than the previous year. For more information, visit healthcare.gov. However, you can apply for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time. Some important dates to get enrolled are as follows:

November 1, 2015 Open enrollment starts for 2016.
December 15, 2015 Last day to change the plan you have or to enroll in for a new coverage.
January 1, 2016 2016 coverage will start from the 1st day of January for the people who get enrolled or change the plan by December 2015.
January 15, 2016 Last day to change the plan you have or to enroll in for a new coverage, that’ll start from February 1, 2016.
January 31, 2016 Last day for 2016 open enrollment.

2. Take your first required minimum distribution by April 1, 2016

As per the IRS regulations, an elderly person, aged 70½ or above, needs to take annual withdrawals or Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) annually from his/her tax-deferred retirement account (Traditional, Rollover, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA). If you’re celebrating your 70½ birthday this year, then you should take your 2015 distribution within April 1, 2016. This is one of the most crucial tasks before the end of the year 2015. If you don’t take the annual withdrawal, then you’ve to take two distributions in one year, which may lead you into a higher tax bracket for next year. Use MRD calculators to figure out your annual distributions. Search on the internet to find an RMD calculator.

3. Consider a credit counseling session to start afresh

Did you get married, divorced or blessed with a baby in the year 2015? Did any of these reasons affect your financial condition for the whole year? Whatever the reason is, if you don’t have control over your financial condition, then you must do something to make the situation better. This is especially important when you’re drowning with huge debts and struggling with your monthly payments and basic expenses. You shouldn’t ignore the situation as it can ruin your credit score as well as your financial future. Consider a credit counseling session before entering into the 2016 financial year. Credit counseling is the best option to make positive changes to your finances. A credit counselor will work with you personally to help you get your debts under control. Even if you’re not in debt, you can go for a session to understand better money management skills.

Read more: Credit counseling: Why do people think it’s a good idea?

4. Educate yourself

No one wants to repeat the same financial mistakes of the last year. Take some actions to make yourself financially educated rather than making the same mistakes. For instance, if you’re a young graduate and looking for a job in the coming days, then learn how you can build a good credit score to impress your employer. If you already got a job last year and now looking forward to taking out a mortgage, then you must evaluate your financial status before considering it. Or, before making any kind of investment, you need to evaluate the profit as well as the loss, you might incur. Make a promise that before making any financial decision in 2016, you must ask Google, read expert comments, and keep an update on the current market. No matter how experienced you are, you need to be confident enough about your financial decision to minimize the risk factors.

5. Stick to your long-term investment plan

End of the year is a very vital time for all investors as it requires their attention. You need to review how your investments have performed throughout the year and where you need to focus more in the coming days. The one thing that is very important for the investors is to stick to their long-term plan. This could be tough for you, but you need to do it to gain more profits from your investments.

6. Meet with a housing counselor before buying a home

Buy or rent? If this question is constantly nagging you right now, then you must consider some expert’s view before finalizing a decision. Maybe you’re looking forward to buying a home in the year 2016. But, before making such a big decision, you must consult with a housing counselor. As per the recent article published in fool.com, “U.S. home prices have risen by more than 30% since bottoming out in early 2012, so it's a valid argument to say that owning a home is expensive compared with just a few years ago.” However, renting has its own pros and cons too. So, whether you’re thinking about buying or renting, you should consult a housing counselor to justify your decision. You can get the important suggestion on buying a home, renting, foreclosures, credit issues from a housing counselor. A housing counselor will also suggest you a particular mortgage loan term that is suitable for your financial condition. Consider a housing counselor who is approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You need to find out approved agencies near your location.

Some other must do year-end financial moves are:

  • Change the passwords of all your financial accounts.
  • Make sure you ask for a free credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies.
  • Consider a newly updated budget for the new year. Maintain a budget spreadsheet.
  • Take an inventory look at your house and make a charitable contribution for a tax break.
  • Negotiate with your employer for a year-end raise at your work. Here’s How.
  • If you have money in your FSA, then use it on an important purpose before the end of the year.
  • Make an advanced plan for your next summer vacation. Set aside money to fund your trip.
  • Don’t overlook your child’s educational costs.
  • Consider a year-end money discussion with your spouse.
  • Find out your biggest costly habit and eliminate it.
  • If you have big debts, then try to pay them off instead of racking up.
  • If your savings are low, then automate your finances.
  • Find out ways to save more money. Read financial books, articles, magazine to know the tricks.
  • Maximize your retirement savings.

Final thoughts

Finally, I feel, everyone needs to consider a limit in their life, especially in finance. The festive season is always enchanting, but that doesn’t mean you’ve to blow all your money on it. If you do so, then you may end up with more debts at the beginning of the year. However, once you enjoy the festive season keeping your finances in your mind, you’ll be able to enjoy the next festive season more gloriously than ever.

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