2020 Year-End Financial Check-Up
It’s that time of year again, when people start thinking about getting their finances organized. And let’s face it, 2020 has been one crazy year that just about no one anticipated. So many things have changed this year that it’s even more important to survey the financial landscape and re-assess your choices. We want to remind you about some of the most important topics we cover on Plutigo.com.
We kick off with the Roth IRA because finishing up your year is a great time to think about investments and investment planning. We won’t go into all the details of this valuable investment vehicle, because you can check them out on our Roth IRA page, but the critical information to know is:
- If you are eligible to contribute (see the eligibility criteria on our Roth IRA page, you can contribute up to $6,000 for 2020. The limit is $7,000 if you are 50 years of age or older as of year-end 2020.
- The deadline for 2020 Roth contributions is April 15, 2021, but you can certainly make the contribution immediately if you are sure your final 2020 income makes you eligible to contribute.
- If you are not eligible to contribute to a Roth, you may want to consider contributing to a Traditional IRA, which is also described on our Roth IRA page. Just be aware that the $6,000 limit ($7,000 for 50 and up) covers your total contribution to both Roth and Traditional IRAs, so be sure you don’t exceed that maximum.
The tax benefits of a Roth IRA are among the best you will ever receive from the US government, so if 2020 has left you in a position to be able to contribute, and you’re eligible, there’s no time like the present to look very closely into this option. If you need a Roth IRA provider, you can read our reviews of several well-known ones on the Roth IRA page as well.
Health Savings Account (HSA)
If you have never before considered an HSA, or if you have recently changed health insurance plans as the year comes to a close, it might be time to take a very close look. An HSA is a tax-exempt savings account to save money for qualified medical expenses, and it’s available to people with high-deductible health plans. Contributions to your HSA are pre-tax, meaning they are deducted from your taxable income.
Full details are on our HSA page, but the important thing to know is that, if eligible, in 2021 you can contribute up to $3,600 if the HSA covers only you, and up to $7,200 if it’s for your family as well. If you’re 55 and older those amounts increase by $1,000.
The major benefit of an HSA is that it allows you to pay with pre-tax money for many out-of-pocket medical expenses, including: ambulance service, annual physical, birth control pills, dental treatment, disabled dependent care expenses, hospital services, hearing aids, laboratory fees, long-term care, nursing services, osteopath, prescription medications, psychoanalysis, X-rays, and much more.
But the fringe benefits are perhaps even better. Whatever you don’t use remains in the account and can be used later in life for these kinds of expenses. And you can open an HSA account with many low-cost brokerage firms like Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab, which means you can make standard investments with your HSA contributions, for long-term growth of your funds. In effect, the HSA acts like an additional tax-advantaged retirement account. And once you reach retirement age, you can use the funds for expenses not paid by Medicare, like deductibles, co-insurance, and even Part B and Part D premiums.
We cover HSAs on Plutigo.com because we believe that for those who are eligible, they are much like the Roth IRA – one of the greatest benefits the US government will ever offer you. Make it a new year’s resolution (one you actually follow through on!) to find out if you are eligible, and whether your employer offers an HSA along with your insurance plan. If you’re eligible but your employer doesn’t offer it, or if you don’t receive your insurance through work, you can simply start your own HSA. Check it out today!
It’s never a bad time to look for a better deal on car insurance. And an end-of-year financial check-up is a particularly good time to do it. As we have mentioned many times on Plutigo.com, both on our car insurance page and in blog posts, it pays to shop around regularly for quotes on car insurance. You may be satisfied with your current provider, but the market changes quickly and frequently, so a better deal with an equally good insurer may be waiting for you if only you go looking for it.
The process of getting quotes is simple today, with virtually every company making them available to you via their website. Price is not the only criterion for choosing insurance, of course, but it is certainly one of the most prevalent. For more details on how best to shop for and evaluate your car insurance needs, dive into our car insurance page and the reviews of individual insurers that are linked from there.
While you’re at it, this time of year is a great time to review your coverage choices. Perhaps when you made the choices originally your financial situation was quite different from today. If your level of assets has increased considerably, you may have more to lose if you don’t have enough liability coverage, for example, and it may make sense to increase your coverage levels, even though it will also increase your premium.
At Plutigo.com we are not in favor of over-insuring, but when you have something meaningful to lose, we are also very wary of allowing oneself to be under-insured. It’s worth a few minutes of your time to take a close look at where you stand.
Have a Great End to 2020 and Start to 2021
There is no doubt that, even if 2020 was not as financially difficult for you as it was for so many Americans, it was a trying year nonetheless for lots of reasons. From all of us at Plutigo.com, we offer our sincere hope that you and your family have been able to weather the storm without difficult health challenges and other hardships. And we wish you a great 2021.
Not surprisingly, we have recommended that you get a fresh start on your financial planning for the new year. That’s what we do, after all. But we also wish for a fresh start for all aspects of life for our readers and all of our fellow members of the human race. Bring on a new day in 2021!