Novem­ber is a big birth­day month in my fam­i­ly.  My two sis­ters and father have birth­days in Novem­ber.  So not only do I have to wor­ry about their birth­day gifts, but I also must start address­ing Christ­mas shop­ping!  Novem­ber is always an absent­mind­ed­ly expen­sive month for me, and then you add some addi­tion­al expens­es like gifts.

Black Fri­day is only a few weeks away.  Grant­ed we must get through Thanks­giv­ing first.  I feel like the build up to Thanks­giv­ing is more for Black Fri­day than Thanks­giv­ing.  So here are some Thanks­giv­ing facts.  The aver­age Thanks­giv­ing din­ner for 10 peo­ple is $50.11.  Drinks will run you an addi­tion­al $18.90 for some wine.  Fol­low that up with $938.58 spent per shop­per on Black Fri­day and you have your­self quite a few days of spend­ing.  I would rec­om­mend you start plan­ning out your Thanks­giv­ing week now.  Obvi­ous­ly, account for your gifts and food, but also con­sid­er your wrap­ping paper, dec­o­ra­tions, and any­thing you use for enter­tain­ment.  These var­i­ous expens­es add up quickly.

There is more plan­ning to con­sid­er: Char­i­ta­ble dona­tions.  The abil­i­ty to write-off char­i­ta­ble dona­tions is based on your abil­i­ty to get it done by year-end. Start gen­er­at­ing your list of groups you would like to sup­port. Then, to con­firm they are an eli­gi­ble group and are putting your mon­ey to good use, search the orga­ni­za­tions on Guidestar.  This site will give you reviews of the orga­ni­za­tions and pro­vide you sta­tis­tics on how much of the mon­ey goes towards the actu­al cause.

If you are turn­ing 70.5 or are old­er than 70.5 and have mon­ey in a tax-deferred account, you typ­i­cal­ly will want to make sure your required min­i­mum dis­tri­b­u­tions are tak­en before year end.  If it is your first year, you could delay it to April 1st of the fol­low­ing year; how­ev­er, why defer that dis­tri­b­u­tion since you still must take the sec­ond one by year-end?  The amount you with­draw is based on the pri­or year-end bal­ance.  If you fail to take the dis­tri­b­u­tion by the due-date, your penal­ty could be 50% of the amount not distributed.

Have a great Novem­ber and Hap­py Thanksgiving!