The end of the year can be busy. There’s a lot of things that can be missed as we race through the holiday season. Here are my top 10 end-of-year planning tips.
1. Capture Unrealized Investment Losses
Take a gander at your portfolio and (hopefully) marvel at its growth since the start of the year. While you are at it, if you happen to have any investment losses – capture them. You can offset any gains that you captured earlier this year or up to $3,000 of ordinary income. For someone in the 22% bracket, that’s could save you over $600.
2. Don’t Forget about RMDs
Are you 72 or older? You’ll need to take your RMD (required minimum distribution) this year. Not sure how much that is? Go to Investor.gov and calculate it.
3. Maximize Your 401k Contributions
Do you have a higher-than-usual tax bill this year? Call your HR and have them put as much as possible in your retirement plan (401k/403b/457) in your remaining paychecks. According to the IRS, you can put up to $19,500 in your 401k. ($26,000 if you’re over age 50.)
4. Review Your Tax Withholdings
Will you receive any significant windfalls like an inheritance, restricted stock options or other stock options, or a bonus? If so, review your tax withholdings to determine if you should make an estimated payment to the Federal, State, and local governments.
5. Small Business Owners – Consider if Deferring or Accelerating Costs to Reduce Your Tax Liability
If you’re a small business owner and you have business expenses – consider if it makes sense to defer or accelerate the costs to reduce your overall tax liability.
6. Maximize Your HSA
Do you want to save more? Families can contribute up to $7,200 to an HSA, $1,000 more if you’re over 55.
7. Know Your Options with FSA accounts.
If you have a balance in your FSA (flexible spending account) your employer may offer up to $550 of unused FSA funds to roll over into the new year. Others offer a grace period up to March 15th. And yet others will allow you to submit receipts from the previous year up to 90 days after year-end. Know your FSA options to take full advantage of those tax savings.
8. Maximize Medical Expenses
Have you met your annual deductible for medical expenses? If so, consider incurring additional medical expenses that you know are coming up before your deductible resets.
9. Update Your Estate Plan
If you’ve bought or sold, or if there were family changes, update your estate plan to reflect these changes. It’s a good idea to review your estate plan at the end of the year anyway to make sure your wishes are still being reflected in the documents.
10. Will New Laws go into Effect Next Year that may Impact Your Financial Plan?
This mostly revolves around taxes. But whenever you have major tax changes coming, talk to your financial planner, estate planner, and/or tax professional to make sure you are best positioned to take advantage of current or new laws going into effect.
The end of the year is a great time to reflect. It’s also a good time to prepare. These are my Top 10 End of Year Planning Tips.