Welcome to November! We’re on the cusp of the holiday season, which means there will be more time to spend with our loved ones and more plans to make as we wrap up the year.
This is one of my favorite times of year: while summer is my favorite season, November is full of exciting energy as it is the last month before the final month of the year. This time feels full of possibility: what will happen before we get swept up in the activities of December? We get to decide, for ourselves, what we do with this last dance before the end of the year.
With less than 2 months until the end of the year, this is a fantastic time to take inventory of anything that is unfinished from earlier this year. For this month, I recommend reviews and automation. My three financial tips for November:
Review current health insurance selections and adjust accordingly. For many employers, November is the final month to make any changes to health insurance selections before being locked in for the next year. So this is a great time to review your current insurance plan and see if you are getting the most out of your health insurance, as well as whether you need the amount of coverage you’re currently paying for. Further inspection may reveal that you are under- or over-insured, and you should absolutely choose a plan that suits your needs for your current phase of life.
Identify any tasks that you can pre-schedule/automate throughout the end of the year (and spilling over into the new year), then do it. During the last several weeks of the year, it can be easy to overlook tasks that need to be handled, and the price that comes from forgetfulness (usually in the form of late fees or decreased credibility) isn’t worth it. Take time to see which items need to be automated – even if it’s just for a few months – and set up those automations/schedules/alerts now, while you can. A few moments of preparation can mean huge savings for you!
Review your professional credentials and schedule any necessary continuing professional education (CPE/CE) courses. I mentioned the need to schedule CPE/CE classes during the summer slump that many tax practitioners experience. But, if you missed that post, now is also a good time to schedule those courses before the end of the year. Most professional credentials have annual requirements for maintaining those licenses, so the last thing you want is to let the end of the year arrive and you’re a few credits short. Schedule those now, so that you won’t have to rush around and find the courses in December, when many CPE/CE courses have limited options (because so many people wait until the last minute to do it!)
Those are the finance tips for November. Let me know if you’ve done any of these already, and how that worked out for you, in the comments below. Take care!
This is the next set of tips for your continued financial health! Whenever I think of September, I think of back-to-school time, the end of my favorite season, and fresh starts. For many industries, the end of September is the end of the fiscal year, so for them, September is the last opportunity to handle unfinished business for the year. In many ways, September is significant to a lot of people.
I usually advise tax practitioners to take certain actions in September that set them up for success as they prepare for the flurry of activity that will close out the calendar year, but since this post is for everyone (not just the tax pros), I’ll avoid talking about those things. Instead, I’ll focus on beginnings, and things you may want to start doing as we prepare for the fall season. Here are three tips that you can do this month to impact your financial health:
Consider opening a 529 plan. If you are a parent, grandparent, or other adult invested in the education of a child near to your heart, then a 529 plan may be a great idea. These are education savings accounts that can be used to cover expenses from kindergarten to post graduate education, and these offer significant tax benefits for the folks that set them up. These can be established in numerous ways so you’ll have to research your state’s rules to see whether this is something that will work for you.
Research and open a high yield savings account. This is something that I advocate everyone do, so that your liquid assets have the chance to grow a bit faster than they would in a standard savings account. Check out Bankrate.com to see which banks are offering the best interest rates on savings accounts. Then, once you open an account, move your money over there, so it works a little harder for you as it sits and grows.
Review your current health benefits and plan to take full advantage of those benefits before the year ends. Most of us have tremendous benefits included in our health insurance that we never tap into. Spend a little time this month looking through your benefits documents, and see which services you’d like to schedule this year. You may have incredible savings just waiting for you to access them!
That’s it for my September tips! If you have had success with any of these things (opening 529 plans, using a high yield savings account, or tapping into lesser known health insurance benefits) let me know in the comments below: I’d love to hear about your experiences!