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10 Ways to Improve Your Finances Before Year-End

By Ben Steverman - 2011-12-12T16:43:49Z

Photograph by Getty Images

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Adjust Retirement Plans

The end of the year is employees' last chance to direct a greater chunk of their paychecks into a 401(k) if they haven't reached the annual maximum of $16,500. That is especially important if contributions are matched by an employer, says Ameriprise adviser Michael Beriss. It's also a chance to save on future taxes by converting traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs, he says. Traditional IRAs and 401(k) plans defer income taxes until you withdraw assets in retirement, while Roth IRA contributions are taxable but investment returns compound tax-free.