This year I got a little carried away watching commercials about bacon, spent waaaay too much on the fancy kibble advertised, and am quivering a bit at the thought of maybe not having enough income tax withheld from my paycheck. Since 2020 is right around the corner, and I know I need to get my finances in order, I’m pawing around my doghouse for pen and paper so I can list my financial resolutions for the New Year.
- The first thing I’m going to do before the year’s end is head over to Uncle Sam’s website at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/tax-withholding-estimator and run some figures to make sure I have the right amount of taxes withheld every paycheck for the coming year. I don’t want to pay in so many taxes that I have a huge refund coming for the 2020 tax year. Why should I let Uncle Sam use my money free until I get a refund? But neither do I want to be licking my wounds come January 2021 because I owe Uncle Sam a lot in income tax. If I need to increase or decrease my withholdings, I’ll submit a new IRS Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, to my master.
- I’m going to reassess my retirement plan. I’ll dig around to see if I qualify for some pre-tax contributions out of my paychecks, and, if so, I’ll notify my Canine Resources Department to take those contributions out of my paycheck before they cut my check. I’m not getting any younger, and I want my doghouse full of soft cushions when I stop work.
- I’ll stick to a budget, one designed to include all the basic necessities, like leashes and vet bills, but also an occasional (weekly or monthly) reward, like a small rare steak. A regular tiny treat helps keep me from unexpectedly coming across a really big treat and losing all control. That’s really not very good for me!
- Financial experts recommend a stockpile of 6 months’ worth of bones in case I suffer a loss of job or other catastrophic event. Every quarter I’ll analyze my emergency stash to see whether I’m meeting those goals.
- For any major investments and sales, like real estate, I’ll pounce over to my tax attorney’s office. She’ll advise me on the proper records to keep, such as the cost basis of the property, and other things that can impact my taxes in the future.
- I’ll also check in with my tax attorney about my estate plan. When I finally go paws up (sigh!), I want my assets to be passed to my puppy heirs with the least possible amount of stress and strain (read as the least amount of administrative fees). That might involve sharing my canine wealth now through gifting, or it may call for some other proactive strategies. My attorney’s in a position to know best, and she provides great snacks, along with sound counsel.
Don’t roll over and play dead when it comes to protecting your assets. If you need advice for the New Year, call Law Offices of Christy Lee, P.C. Tell them Toby sent you!