It’s worth taking a few moments to check in on your finances before the holidays.
There’s so much to do when the holiday season approaches. You might have a shopping list, a grocery list and even a seasonal decorations list to help keep track of what you need to do. But what about an end-of-year financial checklist? It can be easy to forget about financial housekeeping matters this time of year.
We’ve put together this brief end-of-year financial checklist to help you get started:
7 end-of-year financial tasks
1. TFSA withdrawals
Any funds taken out of your Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) can only be put back in the following year or any year after that. Remember, the sooner you can re-contribute TFSA funds, the sooner those funds can grow by earning interest, dividends or capital gains depending on how you’re invested.
2. RRSP contributions
March is the deadline to contribute to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) for this year’s taxes. If you make an RRSP contribution in December, you’ll have the benefit of additional months of potential growth through interest, dividends or capital gains.
3. RESP contributions
If you’re saving for a child’s education, keep in mind you have until the end of December to contribute to your child’s Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for the calendar year. The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) will match your contribution by 20%, up to a maximum of $500 for each child. If you miss the deadline, you’ll have one year to catch up (you can only catch up one year at a time).
4. RRIF conversion
If you turned 71 this year, you must convert your RRSP into a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) or annuity by December 31. You also have the option if cashing out your RRSP instead.
5. Charitable donations
If you make a charitable donation by the end of this year, you can claim it as part that year’s taxes. But if you wait until January to make a donation, you’ll have to wait almost a full year before you can claim on your tax return.
6. Budget review
If you created or followed a budget earlier in the year, now is a good time to update it by asking yourself what changes you need to make. How did it go this year? What do you want to spend more or less on next year? There’s still time to adjust your budget for the new year.
7. Plan for the personal
Make sure your financial to-do-list includes some planning for personal goals. In the next year, are you hoping to take a dream vacation? Take some new courses or refresh some qualifications? Perhaps you’re planning to get married or grow your family. Bring your dreams closer to reality by mapping out some savings to get there.