Now is a good time to go over your financial planning and investment management check list so you can make sure everything is up-to-date heading into the new year.
Review Estate Documents
- At the very least, everyone should make sure that their will, power of attorney and health care directive are in order.
- Have there been legislative changes that could have an impact on how your estate plans should be set up?
Review Financial Plan
- Review your spending patterns for the past year.
- During this inflationary environment, were you able to stay on track with your spending plans?
- Are there goals that had to be put on hold due to other priorities that have come up?
- Make a plan on how to get back on track.
- Max out your employer sponsored 401K plans if you are able. At a minimum, if your company has a matching program, try to at least contribute up to the maximum amount of the company match.
- The maximum contribution to a 401K is $20,500 plus an additional $6,500 if you are over 50.
- Review the asset allocations in your retirement accounts and adjust where needed. With the big moves in the market this year it is possible that your allocations are not on target.
- As you get closer to retirement age your accounts should start to allocate more to fixed income and less stocks. This will reduce the volatility in your account and provide income which may be needed to replace an income during retirement.
- Have you enrolled in a Health Savings Account (HSA)? This is a great product as it will reduce your taxable income as long as the money is spent on healthcare there is no income tax, and there are no required minimum distributions. The maximum yearly contribution for an HSA is $3,600 per individual, $6,200 per family, and if you are over 55 years old, you can add an extra $1,000.
- If you meet certain criteria (participating in an employer sponsored plans and income limits) you may be able to deduct up to $6,000 of IRA contributions ($7,000 if older than 50) from your taxable income.
- ROTH IRA – Depending on your income level, you may be able to contribute to a ROTH IRA. A ROTH is funded with AFTER-TAX dollars. The capital gains in a ROTH grow tax-free and when you withdraw the assets there is no income tax. There or no required minimum distributions for ROTH IRAs.
- If you are above the income limit to contribute to a ROTH IRA you can consider doing a ROTH conversion. This involves moving money from a traditional retirement plan into a ROTH IRA. When you take the funds out of the traditional plan, that will be classified as ordinary income. So it is important to understand the tax implications of a conversion. If you are in a low tax bracket or have 20 + years to retirement, if may be worth doing a conversion. For people that are closer to retirement and in a high tax bracket the conversion may not be the best idea.
Tax Loss Harvesting
- As I write this the S&P 500 is down 25% year-to-date and the bond index is down 16%. Most likely there will be losses in your investment accounts. Tax-loss harvesting can help reduce your tax liability. Realized capital losses can be carried forward indefinitely and can offset realized capital gains in future years. Realized losses can also be used to deduct up to $3,000 per year from taxable income. There are strict rules around how to execute tax-loss harvesting strategies.
- Make sure your asset allocation is in-line with your current time horizon, risk tolerance and investment strategy (growth, income, etc).
- Does your risk tolerance meet your timeline goals?
- Re-asses how you felt and your reactions to this year’s sell-off. Many people say they have a “high risk tolerance” but when the market takes a hit like this year, they realize that their risk profile is often times too aggressive.
- If you donate the same amount to charities each year, consider bunching multiple years into a single year. This could help increase your deductions if you itemize.
- Consider donating your required minimum distribution directly to your charities. There will be no income tax due on the part of your RMD that you contribute.
- Make sure your insurances are up-to-date including property, health and life insurance.
If you have any questions, please use the Request an Appointment button to reach us now!