Financial Checklist for Fall
It’s not just the end of the year holidays that come with a list to check. Now is the time to get your end of year finances together and we’ve put together your very own checklist. However, should you wait until good ole Saint Nick checks his list for the second time, you may come to regret it. The end of the year holidays are too busy and there won’t be enough time to get your things in order.
1. Schedule An Appointment With Your Advisor
Now is the time to schedule an appointment with your financial advisor. As we mentioned previously, there will be an end of year rush to get things done, and as much as they would like to pencil you in, they may not have time to meet with you. Remember, the early bird gets the worm!
2. Get an Early Start on Tax Loss Harvesting
Tax loss harvesting is when you’ve sold some investments at a loss to offset the gains you’ve realized by selling other stocks at a profit. By doing this, you only pay taxes on your net profit, or the amount you've gained minus the amount you lost, reducing your tax bill. It’s important to remember that if you harvest your losses and enjoy their benefits, all of your sales must be completed by the end of the tax year.
3. Plan Your End of Year Gifting
Make sure to have a strategy for your end of year gifting. Do you plan on gifting to your kids or grandkids? Make sure you have the correct accounts set up to do so. For example, should you want to gift to your grandkids, specifically minors, having a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) account may be best, especially to avoid a gift tax.
4. Plan Your RMD's Before the End of the Year
The end of the year is the season of giving. Should you decide to give to a charity these coming holidays and are 72+ years of age or have inherited an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you are required to withdraw funds each year. This is called a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). Decide which 501c3 organization you would like to give to, then give directly from your RMD to avoid paying income tax on your donation.
5. Review Your Options Prior to Open Enrollment
Review your options prior to open enrollment, including your health care, other employer sponsored benefits, and/or medicare. Open enrollment starts in October, so it’s best to get a move on reviewing the options provided.
6. Plan Your Use of Any Benefits That Expire at Year End
If you have an Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through your employer, make sure to set up doctor's appointments to use up the account for this year. If you are offered paid time off (PTO) plan out that well deserved vacation! And why not add in those credit card rewards to put towards that vacation or weekend trip to visit family or the beach?
7. Keep an Eye Out for FAFSA Application Deadlines
If your child is planning on attending college, or is already enrolled, make sure to fill out their FAFSA application. You can begin filling out the application after Oct. 1 to ensure that your child doesn’t miss out.
8. Review Your Retirement Contributions
Retirement contributions include pre tax options such as a 401(k) or an IRA, which grow tax free until retirement withdrawals, and after-tax contributions such as a Roth IRA and Roth 401(k), which you are able to make tax-free withdrawals during retirement. Whichever you may have, review your rates to make sure you are on track for retirement.
9. Discuss if a Roth Conversion is Right for Your Situation
A Roth conversion is when you transfer funds from a pre-tax account, like a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. But how do you know if a Roth account is the right option for you?Speak to your financial advisor to see if this is the right path to live out your golden years as you would like them.
10. Get a Free Copy of Your Credit Report to Check for Fraud
Every 12 months you are entitled to receive a free credit report. You can do this by visiting annualcreditreport.com to receive your free credit report from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can also receive these reports by calling (877) 322-8228, or by mailing Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Note that these reports do not include your credit score.
So what are you waiting for? If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your financial advisor.