Sexton Advisory Group Shares Smart Money Moves to Make Before the End of 2021

The 2021 Global Retirement Index (GRI) recently indicated that over 40% of Americans believe it will take “a miracle” to retire securely. The ongoing pandemic, inflation, interest rates, and public debt are all contributing factors to challenging financial times. To end the year on a strong note, Steve Sexton, financial consultant and CEO of Sexton Advisory Group in San Diego, outlines smart money moves to make before the end of 2021.

  1. Assess your finances. “If you don’t regularly keep track of your finances, it’s time to evaluate your financial goals, debts, and expenses and commit to making improvements before the end of the year,” says Sexton.
  2. Manage your debt. Americans owe over $14 trillion in debt, which is expected to increase due to holiday spending. “Take control of your situation now by assessing the debts you owe and put a plan in place to pay them off,” says Sexton. “The debt snowball technique has been incredibly effective for my clients. Review your budget to determine how much money you can apply to debt each month, above the minimum payments. Then, set a deadline for paying off your debts one by one.”
  3. Do a security check. Fraud attempts typically rise towards the end of the year due to holiday spending. Delete credit card and other personal info saved in your browser, always confirm that the checkout page has a secure connection with ordering things online, and utilize credit monitoring sites like Experian to make sure there isn’t any fraudulent activity connected to your accounts. 
  4. Use the money in your Flexible Spending Account (FSA). An FSA is a tax-free account in which you can contribute money that will pay for services that your health care coverage does not cover. “Check your benefits to find out the deadline for using the money in this account so it doesn’t go unused,” adds Sexton. “You might also want to consider the benefits of saving money in a Health Savings Account (HSA) instead if you have a high deductible health insurance plan.” An HSA offers multiple tax benefits in the form of tax-deductible contributions, tax-deferred growth and tax-free withdrawals when you use the money to pay for medical expenses.
  5. Contribute the maximum amount to your 401(k) or IRA. “Every dollar you contribute to your 401(k) or IRA is a dollar you don’t have to pay taxes on, so make sure you contribute the maximum amount before the fiscal year is over,” says Sexton. “A higher contribution can lower your taxable income, which means paying less taxes in April. If your employer offers 401(k) matching, try to save at least the amount that your employer will match; otherwise, you’re leaving free money on the table.”

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Source: Sexton Advisory Group