Year-end financial tips from the pros
News from HeraldNet:

Published: Sunday, December 30, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

As the calendar ticks toward Dec. 31, here are some last-minute, year-end tips recommended by financial professionals:

Do your donations: If you want a charitable deduction on this year’s taxes, you need to write that donation check by Dec. 31. Donations made on a credit card by Dec. 31 are deductible for 2012, even if you pay the Visa bill in 2013, the Internal Revenue Service says. A gift by check also counts for 2012, as long it’s mailed in December. Gifts to individuals — friends, family or strangers — are not deductible.

Max out the 401(k): It’s a gift to yourself — a little more retirement cushion. If you haven’t maxed out the annual contribution to your 401(k) at work, do so now. For 2012, the annual contribution limit is $ 17,000; next year, the annual limit goes up to $ 17,500. If you’re over age 50, you can make an additional catch-up contribution this year of $ 5,500.

Ditto for your IRA: To boost your retirement savings, don’t forget your IRA contributions. In 2012, the maximum contribution to IRAs and Roth IRAs is the smaller of $ 5,000 or your taxable compensation for the year. For those age 50 or older, the limit is $ 6,000.

If you’re not covered by a retirement plan at work, you can get a full tax deduction for IRA contributions. If cov…………… continues on HeraldNet

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Seven tips for keeping your financial fitness resolution
News from Alexandria Echo Press:

The new year is a great time to get yourself pointed in the right direction financially.

“Making small improvements at the beginning of the year is a lot easier than trying to play catch-up,” says financial planner Rick Rodgers, author of “The New Three-Legged Stool: A Tax Efficient Approach To Retirement Planning.”

“Just as you would embark on an exercise program to lose weight and get physically fit, there are simple steps you can take that will lead to being financially healthy and fit.”

Here are Rodgers’ seven tips for improving your financial life in 2013.

• Review your credit report – Borrowing money isn’t the only reason to check your credit. Employers check credit reports and so do insurance companies. Your credit score can have a profound effect on the amount you pay for auto and homeowners insurance — and perhaps on health and life insurance in the not-too-distant future. Order your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.

• Set up an Automatic Savings Plan (ASP) – If your employer doesn’t offer this through payroll…………… continues on Alexandria Echo Press

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