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Annual Financial To-Do List

What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for the coming year? Now is an excellent time to think about the investing, saving, or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives, from building your retirement fund to managing your taxes. You have plenty of choices.

Remember that this article is for informational purposes only and not a replacement for real-life advice. The tax treatment of assets earmarked for retirement can change, and there is no guarantee that the tax landscape will remain the same in years ahead. A financial or tax professional can provide up-to-date guidance. (1)


Here are a few ideas to consider:


Can you contribute more to your retirement plans this year? In 2023, the contribution limit for a Roth or traditional individual retirement account (IRA) remains at $6,000 ($7,000 for those making "catch-up" contributions). Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) may affect how much you can put into a Roth IRA. With a traditional IRA, you can contribute if you (or your spouse if filing jointly) have taxable compensation. Still, income limits are one factor in determining whether the contribution is tax-deductible. (1)


Once you reach age 72, you must take the required minimum distributions from a traditional IRA in most circumstances. The I.R.S. taxes withdrawals as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, they may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty.


Roth 401(k)s offer their investors a tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings. Qualifying distributions must meet a five-year holding requirement and occur after age 59½. Such a withdrawal also qualifies under certain other circumstances, such as the owner's passing. Employer match is pretax and not distributed tax-free during retirement. The original Roth IRA owner is not required to take minimum annual withdrawals. (2)

Make a charitable gift. You can claim the deduction on your tax return, provided you follow the Internal Review Service guidelines and itemize your deductions with Schedule A. The paper trail can be important here. If you give cash, you should consider documenting it. A bank record can demonstrate some contributions, payroll deduction records, credit card statements, or written communication from the charity with the date and amount. Incidentally, the IRS does not equate a pledge with a donation. If you pledge $2,000 to a charity this year but only end up gifting $500, you can only deduct $500. (2)