The holidays are approaching, and it can be tough to find time to organize your financial life. While it seems so easy to push off your financial planning needs until the New Year or group them in as a New Year’s Resolution, there are several financial moves that can be made this year to allow you to start the new year in a better position.
2018 Year End Checklist:
- Revisit Retirement Contributions: Review how much you’re contributing to your workplace retirement plan. If your employer is offering a match, make sure to take full advantage of it before the end of the year. If you’ve already maxed your employer’s match or they don’t offer one, now is a great time to ensure that your portfolio allocation remains in line with your investment objectives.
- Spend your Flex Dollars: Typically, Flexible Spending Account dollars are forfeited on December 31st. Check the balance of your account and use them up for any eligible health and medical expenses. You should also confirm with your employer if your plan offers a grace period or carry over amount for the next year.
- Charitable Giving Benefits: Consider the benefits of charitable giving as a strategy for reducing taxable income. If you annually give to a worthy cause, it’s worth exploring charitable goals and gifting alternatives. See our blog on a Guide to Charity and Donations & Charitable Giving Options on ways to donate to your favorite charity.
- Review Estate Plans: The end of the year is always a good time to review your overall estate plans in place including your will, trust and health care power of attorney. Review and update if necessary, your beneficiaries for all your accounts, estate plans and life insurance policies. Make sure they are aligned with your current wants and needs. If you don’t have any estate plans in place, make it a point to get that started.
- Remember to take your RMD’s: If you’re over age 70 1/2, you must take a required minimum distribution from your IRA by December 31st. If you fail to take that amount, the penalty is equal to 50% on what should have been withdrawn.
Your year-end financial checkup is a good time to make sure you’re on track with your financial plan and if not, make any changes to get back on track. A lot can change over the course of a year and you don’t want to get lost on the way to achieving your financial goals.
The opinions voiced in this material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice to any individual. Consult your legal, tax, and/or financial advisor to determine what is appropriate for your situation.