4 Ways To End 2016 On A Financial High Note 4 Ways To End 2016 On A Financial High Note In the midst of all the fun that comes at the end of every year, it’s easy to get carried away with spending and throw caution to the wind when it comes to your finances. But doing so can mean starting the New Year on a bad note. Instead, use these tips to maximize your tax contributions, avoid overspending, and achieve your financial goals. 1. Don’t Go Overboard on Holiday Spending It’s so easy to get carried away with holiday spending, leaving you with a “financial hangover” in January. Another motivator to not get carried away? Keep your spring goals in mind and how a negatively impacted credit score could affect them. For example, if you are planning a major purchase like a house or a new car, your credit score will be under intense scrutiny by creditors and you don’t want excessive holiday spending to affect this. Consider devising a holiday budget – including gifts, travel, decorations, and food – and stick to it. Avoid making large purchases on credit cards unless you can pay off the balance in full. This way, you can start January fresh and focused on your goals, rather than scrambling to pay off credit card debt. 2. Donate to Charity ‘Tis the season of giving, after all. Even if you can’t afford to make a sizeable contribution, a small donation can still make a difference and will leave you with that warm and fuzzy feeling. An added bonus? Charitable donations lower your taxable income, meaning you’ll pay slightly less income tax. 3. Contribute to Your Retirement With the year almost over, now is the time to maximize your contributions. The more you contribute to your pre-tax retirement plan before the end of the year, the less taxes you’ll pay in April. If you are under the age of 50, the maximum contribution for 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and 457 plans in 2016 is $18,000. However, if you are over 50, you can contribute a maximum of $24,000. The maximum yearly contribution limit for IRAs if you are under the age of 50 is $5,500, and $6,500 if over the age of 50. 4. Put Thought Into Your 2017 New Year’s Resolutions So often, people make their resolutions on a whim and put little thought into how to actually achieve them, leading them to be abandoned before February even hits. Use the approaching new year as an opportunity to reassess your financial goals. What have you achieved this year? Which goals need to be focused on or reevaluated? What new goals can you add? Consider making long- and short-term goals to help you stay motivated throughout the year and remember to make them realistic and measurable. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be sure to end 2016 on a high note and ready to conquer 2017. Leslie Tayne Leslie H. Tayne has more than 15 years' experience in the practice area of consumer and business financial debt-related services. Speaker, Author of Life & Debt, Attorney and Founder of the Tayne Law Group, P.C., Leslie is working towards reshaping the debt industry by offering real, proven solutions to help her clients get back on the road to financial freedom.