Year-end financial checklist can make 2014 easy



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Posted on December 27, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 27 at 9:35 AM

Depending on your spending habits, the Christmas season may have forced you to throw financial restraint out the window. But financial experts say now is the time to check your accounts and keep your score.

Michael Boone, founder of MWBoone & Associates, LLC in Bellevue offers several tips for you and your family to think about before 2014.

1. Donate money to charity: Any charitable donation made before 2014 can be deducted from this years taxes.

2. Review 529 Plan: This tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs, is based on a calendar year.

3. Review your portfolio: Now's the time to give your portfolio an annual check-up. Although you may be tempted to hold on to great stocks, re-balancing the portfolio can be powerful, Boone says.

4. Check your credit score: Find a free credit report service that you like, and make sure you clean up any unwanted issues so they don't sit for years, damaging your credit.

5. Determine your net worth: Boone says this is an important way to get on the same page with your spouse or significant other. It's simply about adding up what you own, and subtracting what you owe. You may feel rich after buying big things in 2013, but your actual net worth may have gone down.

6. Mandatory Withdrawls: If you are 70 1/2 years or older, you are required to take money out of your IRA. If you don't, you could be facing 50% penalties.

7. Put whatever you can on automatic: Whether its bills, recurring payments and savings plans, the more you can do automatically, the easier your financial life will be in 2014.