2015 financial checklist

woman filling out 1040 tax form - certified accountant

As the end of the year approaches , make a few tweaks to put your finances in a better position for 2016. Check out these tips from financial planners:

Maximize your retirement savings If you haven’t already, use the remaining time this year to max out your 401(k) to reduce your taxable income, says financial planner Taylor Schulte of San Diego. You can contribute up to $18,000 for 2015, or $24,000 if you’re over 50.

1Spend the last of your FSA Flexible spendingaccounts allow you to set aside money tax-free for medical expenses. But you typically have to spend the money by the end of the year, or you lose it. Check your employer’s policy — they may allow you to carry over a portion of the money into next year.

Give away your money2 Donate money or goods to charity now to get a break on the tax forms you’ll file next year. If you are considering a larger donation, consider doing so through a private foundation or a donor-advised fund.

Put down the holiday lights and turkey leg, you’ve got things to do

By Sarah Skidmore Sell47 Sell your stinkers If you have some investments you have been itching to ditch, this is the time. Selling stocks at a loss can lower your tax liability for capi tal gains.

5 Get smart If you are helping put someone th rough school , make January’ s tuition payment early, as that can be a deduction on taxes. Or consider contributing money to a 529 college savi ngs pl an, which can be wi th drawn late r ta x-free.

Review the year6 Year-end is a good time to go over all your important personal and business items and issues, says planner Jon Ten Haagen of Northport, N.Y. Do your insurance policies still fit your current needs? Review all your beneficiar y designations and update accordingly if there has been a life change, such as death, birth or divorce.

Make New Year’s goals Consider how your spending, savings and investments fared during the year and consider your goals for next year. Schedule time with a financial planner if you have one, Schulte says. Use the time together to ensure they are up to speed on all of your life updates and start discussing your 2016 goals.