Summer has come to a close. The kids are back in school (or will be shortly), and, hopefully, you’ve about made it through the items on your August financial list. Now that September is about begin, it’s time to think about what needs to be done in the fall and winter. Here are 5 money moves that can get you on the right financial track as we head into the home stretch for this year:
1. Taxes Check
Don’t forget that, for those who pay estimated taxes, September 15th is the due date. Make sure to pay your estimated taxes on time. You can set up an automatic payment plan if you like, or pay electronically, so that you don’t miss the deadline.
You should also make plans to review your efforts to secure tax credits and tax deductions. Make sure your records are in order, and consider consulting your tax professional about what end of the year moves you can make to increase your tax efficiency.
2. Review Your Beneficiaries
While you’re considering your taxes, you might as well think about your estate. Make sure the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies and your retirement accounts are up-to-date. Double check your will and your estate plan while you are at it. Power of attorney, health care proxy and the structures of any trusts you have should be considered. Make sure everything is up to date and your money is all set to go where you want it to, in the event that you die or become incapacitated. This is especially important if you have not updated your information since a divorce.
3. Begin Winterizing Your Home
September is a good time to begin winterizing your home. Depending on where you live, you might have a little more time, but now is the time to consider what needs to be done, and make a plan to cover any expenses that might crop up.
Consider energy efficient windows, or additional insulation. This will help your home be more energy efficient, saving you money throughout the winter. Plus, there is still a tax credit for making these changes through the end of 2010. Get some bids on the work, and find out whether there are city and state programs, in addition to the federal tax credit, that can help you offset the cost.
4. Begin Planning Holiday Travel
You’ll end up with better availability — and better prices — if you book holiday travel early. We’re already planning to buy airplane tickets for my in-laws so that we can avoid the scramble for seats, and the higher fares, that come as the fall progresses. Especially if you plan to travel for Thanksgiving, now is the time to make your bookings. You can also book for Christmas travel now. Book with an service that guarantees your price, and you can get a refund if the price actually drops below what you pay.
5. Update Your Resume
The job market is still likely to take some time to recover. However, that doesn’t mean that you should just sit on your hands. Make sure you are ready for opportunities that may come along and update your resume. You can also prepare a template cover letter for a position you might be interested in. Also, update your network, getting in touch with your business and professional contacts. Don’t start off begging for a job; simply make contact and briefly catch up. If you are ready now, you won’t be left frantically trying to make things happen when a good job opportunity crops up.