Now that you’re well on your way to a healthier YOU it’s a great time to start checking in on your financial situation and making sure you’re making the most of what you’ve got and looking to see if there are things you can do to make your money work better and more efficiently for you.
2013 means there are new limits for 401k, IRA and FSA contributions. 401k (and 403b) contribution limits have increased from $17,000 to $17,500. Be sure you’re maxing out that deferral. Not only does it decrease your taxable income, but if your employer has a matching program you are essentially leaving free money on the table if you’re not maxing out your contribution. Traditional IRA contribution limits have risen to $5,500 from $5,000 in previous years for taxpayers under 50. If you’re over 50, the limit is now $6,500. It may seem that an additional $500 isn’t that significant but over time and with the power of compounding that can make a big difference down the road.
The IRS has also set a limit of $2500 to FSAs (Flexible Spending Account) whereas previously there was no limit. If you have contributed a higher amount in the past be sure to check with your HR department to bring your contribution in line with the new cap. An FSA is a great way to reduce your tax bill by setting aside money in a tax-advantaged account that can be used throughout the year for qualified medical expenses, including deductibles, co-pays and other health care costs your insurance doesn’t cover. However, any funds left in the account at the end of the plan year are lost and cannot be carried over to the next plan year. Choose your contribution carefully.
Getting our financial houses in order may not be glamorous and exciting to some, but the feeling of financial security and knowing you have a solid plan is worth the time and effort. I want 2013 to be your best financial year yet!