Despite the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it just might be in your best interests to take five minutes to consider the following year-end financial and tax planning idea list. Some are important to accomplish the last two weeks of the year and some you can ponder over the holidays and implement in early 2020. But, the key is to READ this list now so you don’t miss an opportunity that may not have been on your radar.

  1. Be sure to maximize your 401(K) contribution – $19,000 plus an additional $6,000 if you are over age 50. And, don’t forget about contributing to a Roth if you are under certain income requirements based on how you file your tax return.
  2. Take your required minimum distribution by 12/31 if you are over age 70 1/2.
  3. Don’t forget about the ability to send some of your RMD to a qualified charity, tax free. QCD more compelling now as a result of higher standard deduction.
  4. Realize capital losses if an investment has dropped in value below what you paid for it. Capital losses can be used to offset capital gains if you have any. If not, capital losses can be carried forward to be used in future tax years. But, more likely scenario for this year is to harvest some gains since the market has been so strong.
  5. Don’t forget to rebalance your portfolio after a year when virtually all asset classes are up, way up!
  6. But, before you rebalance make sure you do so after the ex-dividend date and after any capital gains have been paid from any mutual fund holdings.
  7. If you have a flexible spending account, be sure to use the money or else you lose it!
  8. Consider maxing out your Health Savings Account contributions if you have a high deductible health plan. Funds accumulated can be invested and used tax free to pay for future medical care costs.
  9. Complete a tax projection for 2019 and make sure your tax withholding has been sufficient to come close to your expected tax liability to avoid any underpayment penalties.
  10. Mortgage interest rates are down – run the numbers to see if refinancing makes sense.
  11. Some states have a December 31 deadline to make 529 plan contributions to obtain state tax deductions for the contribution.
  12. If you find yourself with a little time on your hand over the holidays, use it to get rid of some of your financial clutter. Get each tax years records into a file box. Consider taking those boxes over ten years old to be shredded, except for that years tax return.
  13. Check your credit. Make sure there are no errors. Annualcreditreport.com can run once per year for free from all three credit reporting agencies.
  14. Subscribe to Last Pass which is a password management system. It will change your life on-line – for the better! No more forgotten passwords and its way more secure than having those passwords lying all over your house.
  15. Inventory your belongings in case of a disaster. Digital photographs are an easy way. Keep digital copy in safety deposit box or in the cloud.
  16. Review your estate plan. Is your last will in order and reflect your wishes? Make sure your power of attorney and medical directives are updated. Are your IRA, insurance and pension plan beneficiaries up-to-date? Do you have contingent beneficiaries in place?
  17. Review your insurance coverages. Life, disability, automobile, homeowners, long-term care. And, make sure your umbrella liability coverage is enough to cover the value of your assets.

    If you have any questions or need more details on any of these items, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We wish you and yours a very happy holiday.