If it’s not too early for stores to put out Christmas decorations, then it’s not too early to think about year-end planning. Here are some items to review over the next few months.
1. Retirement plan contributions: Now is the time to see if you are on pace to max out your retirement contributions for the year. If not, consider changing how much you contribute or if your plan allows, consider putting most or all of a bonus into the plan. Do the same for IRA and ROTH IRA contributions as well. The IRA contribution limit for 2019 is $6,000 unless you’re over age 50, then it’s $7,000. You may also want to consider converting to a ROTH IRA.
2. Tax planning: There are tons of tax planning strategies that you can consider for year end. Among them are tax harvesting, which is selling investments at a gain or loss to balance out your tax liability. Losses can be deducted against ordinary income up to $3,000, but they can be used to offset gains up to any number. If you don’t have gains, the loss can be carried forward to next year. If you want to repurchase that same investment, you need to wait 30 days to avoid Wash Sale Rules.
Reallocate your portfolio to ensure tax-generating investments like taxable bonds are in your retirement accounts and investments that generate less tax such as stocks are in non-retirement accounts.
Rebalance your portfolio. Invariably some investment has done better than others during the year so you may want to consider rebalancing to ensure you still have the asset allocation you originally intended.
3. Review insurance policies: Life insurance policies may have been purchased years ago when your needs were different, so it’s a good time to review what you have. The same goes for property and casualty, health and long-term care insurance as well.
4. Review beneficiaries: I can’t stress this enough. Review your life insurance beneficiaries too, not just retirement accounts.
5. Charitable contributions: Now is a great time to consider making charitable contributions. Of course, the tax deduction is nothing in comparison to the feeling you get from helping an organization fund its mission! If you don’t currently support an organization, find one whose mission is something you’re passionate about. For me, that’s kids and health, so I support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlantic & Cape May Counties, The Love of Linda Cancer Fund Inc. and the AtlantiCare Foundation.
6. Estate planning: Following the idea of charitable giving, consider making gifts to family members to help reduce the size of your estate.
Keep an eye out for a column on financial New Year’s resolutions.
T. Eric Reich, CIMA, CFP, CLU, ChFC is president and founder of Reich Asset Management and can be reached at 609-486-5073 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. Reich Asset Management, LLC is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.