Your end of year financial checklist: what to accomplish before the new year

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November 30, 2023 | Ben Heinze

As the year ends, now is the time to go through your finances and determine what still needs to be done to end the year on a financial high note. Because some financial aspects are based around the calendar year, going through an end of year financial checklist is an essential part of your financial well-being. Knowing what to keep track of and whether you’ve accomplished everything you need to financially, this year, will have you ringing in the new year happy.

Contribute to retirement accounts

Taking advantage of tax-advantaged retirement accounts is one of the best ways to set yourself up for future financial success. While these accounts are incredibly powerful, they also come with limits, the primary one being you can only contribute a certain amount every year. Look at your contributions for these accounts before the year ends. If you’re unsure of the contribution limits for these accounts, you can check them here.


If you have a 401(k) through your employer, check to see how much you’ve contributed this year. Compared to other tax-advantaged accounts, 401(k)s have large contribution limits that can put you in a fantastic position for your financial future. Better yet, your 401(k) contribution limit does not include matching contributions from your employer.

If you have automatic contributions set up but are not going to reach the contribution limit, consider temporarily raising the percentage or dollar amount you contribute per paycheck to get closer to the annual contribution limit.

Some employers, such as non-profits and public education organizations, have accounts that function similarly to a 401(k) instead, such as a 403(b). The same principles for a 401(k) apply to these accounts.


An IRA is another critical piece of the retirement planning puzzle. While the deadline for annual IRA contributions isn’t until the tax filing deadline the following year, you should still examine your IRA as part of your end of year financial checklist.


If you have an HSA-eligible health plan, you can enroll in a health savings account (HSA). HSAs allow you to save for health care expenses tax-free. They have an annual contribution limit lower than a 401(k) or IRA, but are incredibly powerful tools.

Like an IRA, you have until the tax deadline of the following year to make annual HSA contributions, but it’s a good idea to note how much you’ve contributed and how much more you can contribute at the end of every year.

Review and adjust your budget

Budgets are foundational to maintaining strong finances. As your life evolves and expenses change, you must review and update your budget to reflect your current goals and realistic spending. The end of the year is a great time to do this.

Take your existing budget (or create one if you haven’t) and go category by category, noting areas that need adjusting. For example, maybe you need to increase your food budget due to high inflation. Or, you need to add a line item to save up for a new car.

This exercise is much easier if you keep records of your spending throughout the year, either manually or through a budgeting app that automatically collects and categorizes your transactions. That way, you can look back and see trends in your spending habits, which will help you analyze which budget categories to adjust.

Review recurring bills and subscriptions

This can be done at any point, but the end of the year is as good of time as any to accomplish this important checklist item. Recurring bills such as your car insurance, internet and more often increase in price over time, but you don’t have to accept those increases without pushing back. Call your providers or make a note of the next time your policies will be up for renewal. You may be able to negotiate a lower price. Even if you don’t succeed, you can shop around for a better rate.

Recurring subscription costs can eat into budgets more than expected, especially when the number of subscriptions starts to add up. Go through your statements and identify all your subscriptions. When doing this, there’s a good chance you’ll find something you hardly use that you can cancel with minimal impact on your life.

Set financial goals

In addition to your budget, setting financial goals is critical in helping you achieve what you want financially. Going into the new year, reflect on what you want to accomplish in the short-, medium- and long-term. A lot can change over the course of a year, so making this a yearly habit will help you stay on track.

If you like to set New Year’s resolutions, consider setting financial resolutions. For example, you could set a resolution to make more of your meals at home or make fewer impulse purchases. Of course, financial resolutions don’t always have to be about reducing expenses. Setting a resolution to spend money on traveling somewhere new twice a year or giving to a charitable organization you believe in every month are great resolutions, provided they fit into your budget.

Prepare for filing taxes

As much as we may dread it, the year’s end means it will soon be time to file your taxes. While you’ll likely have to wait a couple of months into next year before you receive all the necessary forms you need to file, it’s a good idea to get a head start and start gathering what you need now.

Create a list of all the forms and information you’ll need and gather as much of it as possible. There will probably be forms you don’t have yet, such as a W2, but writing down that you’re expecting one will help you stay prepared. If you have any questions about your tax situation, you’ll have plenty of time at the start of next year to consult a tax professional and get them answered.


Taking care of these financial items now will help you stay prepared, save money and reach your goals. With this checklist, you can feel confident you’re going into the new year with strong finances.

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Ben Heinze is a marketing content specialist with a passion for financial education. Instilled with a strong sense of frugality from a young age, he views money as a means to building the life you want, rather than an end in itself. From reading Money Mentor, he hopes you discover new ways money can be used to build your ideal life—whatever that may look like.

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