While you’re planning for the holidays, be sure to take some time and financially plan for 2024 as well. Along with the usual advice like making a budget and setting up attainable financial goals for the new year, there are a few other things to consider as well.

Get Ready to Increase Your Contributions

Earlier in November, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced an increase in the amount individuals can contribute to their 401(k) plans in 2024, bumping the limit up $500 from $22,500 to $23,000.

The new $500 bump also applies to Sec. 403(b), most Sec. 457 plans, and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan.

The announcement also included an increase on annual contributions to traditional and Roth IRAs to $7,000 and the amount individuals can contribute to their SIMPLE plan from $15,5000 to $16,000.

Plan accordingly to ensure that your contributions increase to take advantage to ensure you maximize your retirement funds.

Discuss the Expected Market Forecast with Your Financial Advisor

2024 could see a lot of volatility in the markets which will obviously impact your retirement plans.

Now is a great time to schedule a call with whoever is managing your retirement fund and discuss if any changes in strategy should be made to best weather what could be a turbulent year.

It’s okay for investments to see declines; that’s par for the course and it’s best to weather the low points to best enjoy the high points. But, if you are near retirement, you might want to look at ways to reduce the impact of what could be an especially up-and-down market in 2024.

Maximize Your Contributions for 2023

You don’t have to wait until January 1st to start preparing for the new year, especially if you’re planning to retire in the next few years.

If you are a W2 employee, now is the time to be sure you are maximizing your contribution limits to your tax-advantaged accounts, such as 401k, 403b, 457, IRA, or HSA. Every dollar you contribute lowers your taxable income, giving you short-term tax relief and more assets that can produce income during your retirement years.

This isn’t just about meeting minimums; it’s about capitalizing on every available opportunity to build your retirement fund for the future.

If you’re under 50, you can contribute up to $22,500 this year in your 401k.
If you are over 50, you can make an additional “catch-up” contribution of $7,500.

Choose a Debt Payoff Plan

According to Experian, the average household debt is $101,915. It comes in many forms, the most common of which include mortgages, college loans, credit cards, and auto loans.

Working toward reducing that debt is one of the best financial goals you can make at the start of a new year. There are numerous ways to go about doing that, but we suggest starting with one of two of the most common approaches; the avalanche method or the snowball method.

The avalanche method prioritizes paying off your highest-rate debt first while still making minimum payments on all your other debts. After you pay off your highest-rate debt, move your focus on to your next-highest-rate debt until it's also paid off, then so on and so on.

The snowball method involves paying off the lowest balance debt first while making minimum payments on your remaining debts. After it’s paid off, move your focus to the next lowest balance. Continue this until you've paid off all your balances.

Start Your Emergency Fund

We get it; not everyone can set aside a large chunk of their income in case of an emergency. The goal of putting aside at least 3 to 6 months of living expenses is easier said than done. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Don’t stress over “when” to reach that goal. Just get started.

Start a change jar you drop all your pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters into each day and deposit it each month. It’s a fun way to actually WATCH your savings grow and a great opportunity to get the whole family involved, kids included.
Put an envelope in your top drawer and stick a dollar in it whenever you can. Deposit it at the end of the month.

Every time you convince yourself NOT to eat out and buy a coffee, take the money you would have spent and transfer it over into a savings account. 

Find small ways to start making contributions that can make a BIG impact on your life in a time of crisis.