The start of a new calendar year is a busy time in the world of personal finance. For the most part, as far as the Internal Revenue Service is concerned, what happened in 2013 will stay in 2013 — 2014 is a new year, and households often take the time to balance holiday-stretched budgets and plan for the new year.
Unless you are already comfortably retired (and if so, congratulations!), it is probably worth your while to plan your finances, in particular your contributions toward retirement. If you don’t have a clear strategy, perhaps now is the time to develop one. If you do, it is always wise to make sure that it is effective and efficient and that you are executing it well.
A top consideration when you sit down to do all this strategizing is how severely Uncle Sam is going to hit you with the tax bat. First, stay up to date on your tax bracket so you know what to expect come year’s end. Second, make sure you are taking deductions where you earn them. Believe it or not, the government wants to incentivize smart financial behavior, and the more savvy you are with your retirement savings, the more tax advantages you can receive.
Here are a few things to get you started.