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Planning Now for Next Year’s Financial Goals

by Kevin Ryan, CPA/Partner, Citrin Cooperman

Sep 1, 2019
September 2019

AS WE APPROACH the last quarter of the calendar year, it is a good time to look back at your 2019 financial goals to see if you are on target. Have you saved as much as you wanted? Have you paid down some debt? Remember, if you pay more than the minimum amount due, you not only pay off your debt earlier than scheduled but also save on interest fees.

As of this writing, the stock markets performed well, so your investments may be ahead of your goals. Take a look at your accounts to see if you should rebalance holdings so they align with your preferences and risk tolerances.

Saving for retirement is always prudent. It lowers your current taxes because the amount you save in your IRA account or 401 (k) is a tax deduction and has the added byproduct of increasing retirement resources. Additionally, retirement account holdings grow tax-deferred until you begin to make distributions. You may also benefit by being in a lower tax bracket when in retirement, emphasizing the importance of maximizing your retirement contributions now.

For those individuals paid via a W-2, it is a good idea to take your year-to-date earnings and withholdings and calculate where you will end up at year’s end to determine if you will be in good shape when it comes time to file your 2019 Form 1040. Be aware that last year is not a good indicator of where you will be this year because last year the new tax law changes modified the tax withholding tables during the tax year. There were no modifications this year. You don’t want any surprises when you file your tax returns; take the time now to get an understanding, as there is still time to change your withholdings if you need to do so.

This is also a good time to compare your actual spending to the amount you budgeted. If you have not been a budgeter but are willing to give it a try, this is a good opportunity to get a sense of what you spend each month and take the rest of the year to analyze your expenses so you can have some historical numbers to use for a 2020 budget. Set some short-term and long-term goals. Written goals are helpful, and evidence shows written goals are more frequently attained than those not transcribed. If you have more debt than you would like, make a commitment to change any bad habits so you don’t end up in the same situation in the future. Your financial picture won’t change quickly, but positive months will allow you to accumulate wealth over time.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial advice. Always seek the expertise of a certified financial advisor or other qualified provider with any questions you may have regarding personal finance, investment and money-related issues.

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