Advice on getting your finances in order before the New Year

The end of the year is a great time for a financial tune-up. Here are some smart money moves you can make to ensure a good New Year.

The end of the year means deadlines for a whole host of things. One big one is getting your financial house in order. Making a few smart money moves before December 31 is key for securing a good financial future in the new year and beyond. Jean Chatzky, "Today Show" financial editor and host of the new TV show "Money Matters" on RLTV, joins us to depart some words of wisdom.

For people who have been picking up work by freelancing, Chatzky says you should pay attention to set aside enough to pay your tax bills as those bills come due.

"Often when you're working freelance, the money comes in a lump sum. Taxes aren't taken out. If you spend it all, you're going to find yourself in a hole after the calendar year turns. So just be careful there," says Chatzky. "It's also more difficult if you've been freelancing to stay on any sort of a budget. If you can figure out, even by averaging three or four months worth of income, what your monthly take is approximately it'll be a lot easier to set a budget that you can stick to."

Chatzky says the end of the year is a great time for a financial tune-up.

"This is the time of the year that we pay attention to end-of-the-year tax moves. We get rid of the losers in our portfolio in order to write them off against anything that we've actually made money on and we make sure that we've got all our deductions in order," she says.

Chatzky says hiring a financial adviser isn't necessarily required to get your financial house in order, but whether you hire someone or not -- it will take time. Chatzky says the easiest thing to do is focus on a few simple, basic money rules.

"One of my money rules is count dollars like calories, which essentially means track your spending. One of my absolute favorites is if you can't see it and you can't touch it, then you won't spend it. And that argues for having money swiped out of your checking account and put away some place safe where you're not going to touch it. And finally, automate. Anything that you can do to take financial decisions off your plate and just make them happen automatically is going to be good for your financial future," says Chatzky.

For a list of Jean Chatzky's Top 5 Money Rules for 2013 click here.

About the author

Veteran journalist Tony Cox has joined American Public Media as guest host of Marketplace Money.

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