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How to Get Your Finances On Track in 2017

finances
Written by Peter Jones

Feeling like there’s never enough money or time? Want to get healthy or plan for the future? Try these steps to take charge of your life and build some real progress in the new year, while lowering your taxes so you’ll have more of your hard-earned fruits to enjoy for all that labor.

1. Spend money to make money

Getting professional help to lose weight or quit smoking can pay off in the long run. So can soliciting proper legal advice on contracts and finances. So can giving to charity. All of these things are often tax-deductible ways to make your money work for you—and help you to grow. Oh, and shell out for a tax pro to help you out come tax time, too.

2. Get organized

Track your travel miles, your donations, and your time, and keep a clear log in an easy-to-remember place for tax time. You’ll be glad you did. Remember to keep your receipts so you can itemize. As intensive as it sounds, it can be worth the effort.

The next time you see anything that might be relevant to end-of-year tax prep, start gathering it together in dedicated envelopes. That way you won’t be digging around for things at the 11th hour.

3. Plan your financial planning

Look at your stock portfolio and your retirement accounts (if you have ‘em!) and make sure you’ve got everything in order. Are you making all the smartest bets? And if you don’t have an IRA consider getting one; you’ll have until April 18 to fund it, and you can deduct it on your 2015 taxes.

4. Optimize your giving

Whether to charity or to yourself, giving will get you there faster and keep your tax bill down in the process. You can do your part and beef up your savings in the process.

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