4th Quarter tips for your financial life.

Now is the time of year when most of us are thinking about the upcoming holidays, trips, gift buying, and spending time with family. What we need to add to this end of year list is a final look at our finances, before the year is over, to see if you can put your financial future in a bright light.

Here are a few things to look into:
Shelter money from taxes Max out your retirement plan contributions to your employer’s plan, or your individual IRA before December 31st.
Determine if the standard deduction is right for you or whether itemizing is better. You can do a thumbnail tax return to see if a few extra charitable contributions might help lower your tax burden. Another trick is to pay two years of property tax in one year to help boost your itemized deductions.
Note changes in tax brackets. The brackets used to determine your taxable income often change. Check those out just to make sure there are no surprises.

Remember, the more you can save for yourself by fully funding your retirement or being charitable, is less you will pay in tax. That makes for a Happy New Year in my book.