Eight great year-end moves
These financial steps will help you save more money, get better insurance coverage and pay less tax.
By Ellen McGirt, Fortune senior writer

(Fortune Magazine) -- Nathaniel Hawthorne understood the temptations of the season. "I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine," he wrote. "So I spend almost all daylight hours in the open air." Nice work if you can get it.

These days fall is also an ideal time to assess your financial security - before the inevitable ramping up of workplace pressures and in time to affect this year's tax filings.

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Here's a painless eight-step program - from retirement and insurance planning to health care and philanthropy - that not only protects your future but also helps you take advantage of new tax twists (kiddie tax trap; see No. 8) that can save money and reduce anxiety. Getting your financial house in order casts its own warm glow, freeing you to enjoy falling leaves with the peace of mind Hawthorne sought long ago.

1. Rebalance your 401(k)

2. Revisit your estate plan

3. Sock it away

4. Give smarter

5. Review your health plan

6. Clean up your taxable account

7. Do a property insurance checkup

8. Check the new credits and taxes

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