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It's time to do end-of-year money planning

We answer some of your financial questions, on Monday night's Answer Desk

Our certified financial advisors were at the NBC3 Answer Desk on Monday evening, and say that now is the time to start year-end financial planning, because there's actual time to make changes and adjustments that can improve your money situation. Here's there advice:

From Marie Norkett, Blue Ocean Strategic Capital: Do a 'trial run' tax return, putting in this year's estimated income figures and tax and other deductions. Compare it to last year's return (filed in April) and if it's roughly the same, you'll have roughly the same tax amount owed or refunded. If you want to change that bottom line, you have time to add to charitable contributions, or payments to retirement funds, or you can change your exemptions.

From Dennis Hebert, Blue Ocean Strategic Capital: The Experian Data Breach should have everyone reviewing security on credit cards and bank accounts, as well as information on credit reports. He suggests freezing your credit report as a way of limiting access to personal information (though you'd need to unfreeze if you're getting a new credit card, buying a car or making other major purchases) See more of his advice in this related story: http://cnycentral.com/news/local/protecting-your-from-cyber-criminals

From Sue Hansen, Hansen's Advisory Services: It's a good time to look at how much you've put into retirement accounts (401K, IRA or Roth programs, and more). Increasing contributions will help for later years, and may also cut the amount of taxes you owe. You can make 'this year' contributions to IRAs and Roth accounts until Tax Day in 2018, so if you calculate how much you want to put in, and stretching contributions over more months means the payments can be smaller. Make sure you're taking full advantage of any company matches to your retirement fund--it's like free money!

Answer Desk returns next week, answering your health questions...

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