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3 Financial Planning Items to Check Off Your 2011 To Do List

Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Sep 07, 2011 @ 06:09 AM

financial planning checklist

Although summer is just winding down, it's already time to look at your 4th quarter financial tasks. Here is the last in the four part installment from the Financial Planning Association (FPA) task list.


  • Be ready for open enrollment: Many companies set open enrollment for their benefits plans in September and October. Make sure you’ve done some thinking about your benefit choices for the coming year.
  • Tax extension deadline: If you had to file for an extension on your federal taxes this year, your final deadline to file is Oct. 17.
  • Spend out your flexible savings account money: Check your employer’s rules, but you should spend out the amount you put in your flexible spending account by Dec. 31 or the end of the plan year. Schedule any procedures or medical expenses you’ll have by then.


  • Total your potential tax losses: Confer with your tax adviser to see if it makes sense to sell stocks before the end of the year to balance out capital gains or losses in your portfolio or to carry forward losses for future use. Plan mutual fund sales before dividend distributions for less tax impact.


  • Give: Make the charitable deductions you want to make for the end of the tax year. Also, remember single taxpayers can make financial gifts of up to $13,000.
  • Pay deductable expenses early: To lessen your tax impact for the current year, pay mortgage interest or property tax installments early if your tax situation would benefit from it. See if alternating using standard deduction one year and itemizing the next — called “doubling up” — works for you.

Calendar art by drawcity