Monthly Archives: December 2014

Your Window of Opportunity

It’s easy to get swept up into the holiday atmosphere, but don’t forget about your finances.  As the days speed up throughout the season and January 1st quickly approaches, the window of opportunity to make financial decisions starts to close upon us.

Tax consequences, benefit options, and more need to take priority on your list over the next few weeks.

Here are 4 important items to check off before January 1st occurs:

  1. Meet with your CPA for tax planning. A lot of financial decisions can be made in order to reduce the tax burden you may be facing. Knowing what your estimated tax liability is should allow you to make decisions that can greatly reduce your burden over the remaining days of the current year. You may be able to prepay some taxes and/or expenses and put away money into different type of accounts in order to pay less to Uncle Sam. You also may be able to take advantage of investment losses or gains by having your CPA and Financial Planner discuss your situation.
  2. Make your donations before January 1st and make sure that you get a receipt from the non-profit organization that you donate to. Donations after January 1 and without a receipt are not going to help your situation for this current tax year.
  3. Have medical, dental and vision work done if you have benefits for them. Many people have their out of pocket maximums already paid by the 4th quarter of the year. This enables you to have covered tests, procedures, etc. done without it costing you more money.
  4. Make sure you elect the proper benefit coverage through your employer. Take advantage of pre-tax savings plans if you haven’t’ already maxed out for the year.

While it does take a little effort on your part, doing some basic planning before the end of the year may save you substantial amounts of money come April 15th.

Margie Shard is a CFP® and founder of Shard Financial Services, Inc., a financial planning and investment strategies firm in Fenton, MI. To contact Margie please call (810)714-5566 or email For more information on Shard Financial Services, Inc., please visit

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