A strong financial plan needs to be maintained. If people establish a guideline and then walk away from it, there's nothing to ensure that a strategy formulated in a time of economic succor will still be useful should the market fall flat. Any American family that established its investment strategy before 2008, and who have let these plans languish, now is a prime time to get back in the game.

Next year will bring a slew of economic changes that will impact everyone in the country, regardless of what they do for a living or even if they don't work at all. The last few years have seen fewer people retiring, more unemployment, financial hardship from one corner of the United States to the other and plenty of difficulties in between, as the recession struck with little warning for consumers and corporations alike. The fiscal cliff, on the other hand, has been broadcasted to boldly for citizens to ignore it seems impossible.

Talking to a financial investment advisor could get investments secured before the storm hits in January. Here are a few things consumers can do to get ahead now before ringing in the New Year.

•Switch to an IRA 401(k) or 403(b). Unlike other investment portfolios like stocks and bonds, which will receive more unwanted attention from the Tax Department starting next year, these financial tools could actually wind up saving consumers money on upcoming returns. Crains Cleveland Business wrote that opening an account of this type, as well as Health Savings Accounts and other kinds of self-service resources can be written off more easily on upcoming filing applications than other kinds of investments.

•Make donations and charitable contributions to local entities or nonprofits. By giving away money, there may be no financial return on investment immediately, but those who feel they won't be able to avoid a larger tax burden as of next year should consider giving to charities to offset their balances owed. Business News Daily recommended doing this before the end of December, as only contributions made before the calendar year ends can be counted toward next year's taxes. Anything made after December 31 will count toward the following tax period, even though the fiscal year doesn't roll over until March.

•Consolidate cards and revise accounts. For some reason, this step seems the most intuitive but also gets ignored by many consumers. The Telegraph wrote that just under half of all bank account holders actually make sure the information on their debit, credit and various kinds of accounts are correct, but allowing these instruments to hold old information could lead to problems in the future. Update names and addresses, set up a budget system and take some time out with a financial calculator to ensure ongoing financial stability.

•Look for capital gain opportunities. The federal tax cap is set to increase to 20 percent next year due to the federal budget crisis, the Mississippi Sun Herald wrote, meaning now is the time review stock performance and liquidate under-performing resources. Especially in light of the way these kinds of investments are forecasted to perform in the future, it would make sense to sell off those that have suffered a loss, as anything over $3,000 in consolidated loss from the time of purchase becomes an immediate write-off.