Year-End Financial Planning Checklist
Plan Now for a Year-End Investment Review
The end of the year is an excellent time to reexamine your financial situation and to revise your financial plans. There are many important things to consider that might make a difference.
You might not enjoy sitting down to do year-end investment planning, but if you take the time in the next few weeks, you can make plans with greater certainty. Investment planning is trying to anticipate possible changes in tax law for tax year 2015 and beyond. You know how income, capital gains, and qualifying dividends will be taxed. That gives you an opportunity to fine-tune your long-term planning, or to develop a plan if you've postponed doing so. Here are some factors to keep in mind as the year winds down.
INVESTMENTS • Confirm investment goals and strategy • Review asset allocation • Review fundamentals of portfolio positions • Revisit income and savings needs
RETIREMENT • Review overall retirement strategy • Analyze Roth IRA conversion scenarios: full vs. partial vs. none • Max out 401(k) contributions including catch up provisions • Contribute to your IRA’s • Open a retirement plan if newly self-employed • Take required minimum distributions from IRA, if applicable
TAXES • Review sales of an appreciated property including real estate and artwork • Collect cost-basis information on sold securities • Review realized and unrealized gains and losses • Check loss carry-forwards from last year • Identify transaction that could improve tax situation • Have your tax advisor prepare a year-end tax projection, including AMT • Review potential deductions and credits before year-end
INSURANCE • Review life insurance policies • Review costs of current insurance policies • Review health insurance coverage • Identify material changes in life, business, or financial circumstances that may require insurance adjustment
HEALTH • Review Health Savings Accounts contributions (HAS) • Calculate medical insurance deductible. If not met, consider holding off on certain medical treatments until January 1. If met, consider the treatment or procedure. • Spend any remaining balances in Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) • Review Long-Term Care Insurance options
MILESTONES • Age 50: Now you can make catch-up contributions to your IRA’s and some qualified plans • Age 55: You can take distributions from 401(k) plans without penalty if retired • Age 59 ½: You can take distributions from IRA’s without penalty • Age 62-70: You can apply for Social Security benefits • Age 65: You can apply for Medicare • Age 70 ½: You must being taking Required Minimum Distributions from IRA’s
CHANGES • Did you move? • Did you sell a major assets like your home, business , or other real estate • Did you transfer any major financial assets? • Did you refinance your home? • Change jobs? • Did you get married or end a marriage? • Do you have a parent or other family member in need of assisted living? • Is there a severe illness in your family? • Did you receive an inheritance?