With a few days left before the New Year, it is pertinent that you take time to figure out what changes you will have to make if we do hit this expected fiscal cliff. The average American will be expected to spend $3,500 more each year in taxes. The question is-where is that money coming from? Maybe it will come out of your food and entertainment budget, if you are lucky enough to have one of those. For a lot of Americans, it will be coming out of your survival fund. If you think ends are difficult to meet now before the cliff hits, then you need to sit down with a pen and paper and take a look at how much worse things are going to get. Yes, planning for the worst is scary but going into the New Year with a revised and functional financial plan is not only more responsible, it will also cause you less stress if you are expecting to pay more in taxes. You should also know that the estate tax, income tax, gift taxes and other taxes that affect your daily life are expected to increase. Even the professionals are concerned about what the outcome may be. Certified Financial Planner and managing partner at Ballou Plum Wealth Advisors, Lynn Ballou, says, “Clients were really hopeful that Congress would set aside its differences and come to a decision, so most people don’t actually know what it’s going to mean to them if they go over the fiscal cliff. They’re concerned but they’re also just mad.” Our advice for preparing for the fiscal cliff? Start saving your money now. Cut back on expenses, and try to find another source of income. The bottom line is that you want to make the financial changes that you were probably thinking about anyway. The difference is that, in this case, you no longer have a choice. The ineptitude of some our elected officials may harm the economy in a way that might set us back for years. With the divisions between Democrats and Republicans, the really bad news is that it’s probably only going to keep getting worse.