5 Ways to Get Financially Fit for 2014
NEW YORK ( MainStreet The holiday season is in full swing, and the year is quickly coming to an end. With all the holiday shopping, year-end audits, and vacation planning going on, it's easy to get overwhelmed. If you're looking for a reprieve from the winter grind, hide out in your room, and try one of these productive ways to keep your mind occupied. First and foremost, though, remember to stay relaxed throughout the process:
1. Review Your Taxes
With every new year comes a new round of taxes. There's no worse feeling than going through your finances in the spring only to realize there's something you missed. Once the calendar at the IRS changes over, there's nothing you can do about that missed 401(k) payment, health spending account overage, etc. Taking 30 minutes out of your day today can save you hours of headaches in a few months. With Obamacare this year, you can deduct health care costs if they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI), so if you're teetering on the edge, it might also be time to schedule some last minute X-rays, sonograms and check-ups.
2. Start or Buy a Business
It may seem like an odd thing to do so close to the holidays, but the end of the year is a great time to start a business. Businesses are a great investment, so long as you know what you're doing. They can help you lower your tax rate, earn additional income and improve the community around you. There are several ways to start a business, and not all of them involve a lot of time or money to work.
Simply by registering an LLC (~$400 will register the name & cover the cost of publishing the business name per your specific state statutes), you will have created a possible tax shelter that can assist you with next year's filing. If you're looking for a pre-made business, there are a variety of listing sites where you can find a business for sale in the U.S. You can also buy a franchise. Even if all you do is sell some homemade crafts or fudge for extra Christmas money, it's still a financial boost, and 'tis the season for commerce.
3. Pay Back Personal Debts
Studies have shown that having a lot of debt is hazardous to your health. If you owe anybody money, the holiday season is a great time to pay the person back. Friends and family will often appreciate the repayment of a debt more than receiving a gift. Getting that weight off your shoulders may hurt in the short term, but in the long run, you'll feel much better about yourself.
Depending on the circumstances, there's a good chance the person you pay back will even use the money to buy you a much better gift than normal. I know this sounds selfish, but I'm trying to convince you to pay your friends back on Christmas on a financial website, so I have to cover both the Whos and Grinches of the world.