Now that we know what the new tax law will look like for 2018, there are a couple of things to consider before the end of this year. The new law puts limits on itemized deductions, as well as increasing the standard deduction, so you will want to take all of the deductions in 2017 that you can. If you can, be sure to pay your property taxes before year-end. If you have a mortgage, consider making an extra mortgage payment to pull more interest into this year. If there is a charity that you have been considering giving a gift to, now might be a good time to make that gift. If you live in one of the seven states without an income tax and have been considering making a big purchase, you may want to do this before the end of the year. The ability to deduct sales tax will be limited going forward.
So in summary:
1.Pay your property taxes this year.
2. Make an extra mortgage payment this year.
3. Consider making charitable deductions before year-end.
4. If you live in Texas, Florida, or South Dakota, and are considering making a big purchase, now may be the time to buy (you better take advantage of this as it’s not often I will be telling you to make a big purchase).
We will follow-up after the first of the year with more information on how this will affect you.
Brett S. Carleton, CFP®
This time of the year can be very challenging to try and stick with a budget. We are bombarded with images of the latest must have gadgets everywhere we look. Then there are the end of the year holiday parties and family gatherings where we feel obligated to bring a gift. How can one possibly stick with a budget? Here are 5 ideas to help create a plan for your holiday gift giving.
1. Have a budget and stick to it. It is a good idea to set aside the money and pay for the gifts in cash. This will also help if you must buy something online and pay with a credit card.
2. Create a list of who you will buy gifts for and what you will get for them. This will help to prevent impulse buys for someone.
3. Do a little research before purchasing the gifts. Check for the best prices online before going to the store.
4. If you normally buy gifts for everyone in your family, consider drawing names so everyone will only have to buy one gift. This can be fun because you can put more thought into the gift. Some families will do a white elephant gift exchange where everyone brings a gift and receives a gift. This can be fun especially if everyone starts exchanging gifts.
5. Start a new family tradition that doesn’t require anyone to buy a gift. Go see Christmas lights, go ice skating, or some other type of holiday activity. This is something that will be remembered much longer than whatever gift you receive.
The holidays can be such a fun time, we do not want to ruin it by going into debt. If everything goes onto credit cards and you cannot pay them off, your only lasting memory of Christmas 2017 will be paying your monthly bills. Don’t let that happen this year!