As we approach the end of October, it is a bit scary to realize that 2015 is almost over. Soon, the holidays will be here and another new year will be starting. In an effort to prepare your personal insurance needs for the year’s end, following are a few tips and ideas to give you a head start.

Beef Up Your 401(k)

As the year comes to a close, it is important to look at finances and consider your financial strategy. One area to consider is increasing any pre-tax income contribution to a 401(k) plan. By doing so, your household annual taxable income will be lower, and your retirement savings will be increased. This is something to consider now, since an employee cannot add this pre-tax money to their account themselves. Be sure to plan ahead and talk to the company’s payroll or human resources department to change the contribution amount. Remember to change this amount back to the normal contribution in time for the first paycheck in the new-year.

Is Your Budget Stale?

As homeowners approach a new year and a new start, reviewing spending habits could help start the year off with a new household budget and plan. Use this opportunity to examine your homeowners insurance coverage. Also examine any over-budget areas, and re-evaluate services or household subscriptions that are seldom used or no longer needed. This could include unused gym memberships, magazine subscriptions and home cable packages. People often get wrapped up in their day-to-day schedules, and seldom evaluate household monthly expenses for things not being used. Canceling stale personal expenses could result in quite a savings!

Optimize Your Health Insurance Services

Lastly, take a look at your health insurance plans and utilize them to their full potential. If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), it may have money left in it which could be lost at the end of the year. If your account has more than $500 in it after December 31, you will lose it due to the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule. Even if there is no FSA, if a healthcare deductible has been met, now may be the time to consider any testing, allergy shots, x-rays, and other medical issues that need to be addressed.

Meeting a healthcare deductible is typically something most people do not experience until the end of the year. This is the best time to take advantage of those expensive medical treatments that have been put off. Health insurance is expensive, and this is one way to make it work to your advantage.

This may sound like a timely process, but the time invested preparing for the new year could save a lot of time and money in the future. Don’t let the craziness of the holidays, and the stress of closing out another year be so overwhelming that it keeps you from getting the most out of your personal accounts - including personal insurance, homeowners insurance and health insurance considerations. Get a jump-start on year-end planning, and prepare your household accounts now. While reviewing financial accounts, be sure to assess how your assets are protected by contacting your personal insurance agency at Jones & Associates to ensure your coverage is up to date!

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