Year-End Planning: Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

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Published by: Mark Lookabill

As November comes to a close and we head into the end of year holiday season, I thought this would be the perfect time to provide some tips to help you get a jump on year-end planning. While this is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list of everything that you could tackle, these three broad areas will get you headed in the right direction as we approach year end.  As you are thinking about these topics, please remember to consult with your wealth advisor to make sure the information you have is accurate and you make the best decision for your situation.

Insurance

  • Review the cost of your current insurance coverage. While you may not always like what you find, it is better to know in advance and plan for any increase in insurance costs than to be surprised when premiums are due.
  • Review your existing life and disability insurance policies and make sure that the need for those policies are still in place. Also ask yourself if your situation has changed where additional coverage may be needed.
  • Review your current health insurance coverage.  Many of us recognize that with a new year or as employers update health plans, the cost of coverage or deductibles may increase. But again, it’s better to know that information in advance, so you can make the most well-informed decision on your health insurance coverage for the next 12 months when open enrollment occurs.

Taxes & Retirement Plans

  • Review realized gains and losses on your non-qualified investment portfolio to make sure you have all the relevant cost basis information. It’s a lot easier to identify and gather missing info now, than to be under the gun and scrambling to gather it after the first of the year.
  • Consult your tax preparer to review potential Roth IRA conversion scenarios.
  • Look to max out 401(k) and IRA contributions before year-end. This would include any catch-up contributions.
  • For those of you over 70 1/2 make sure that you take your required minimum distributions from your IRA accounts.

Budget & Lifestyle

  • Review your income and expenses year-to-date. Have you stayed within the budget that you have set, while maintaining your lifestyle where you want it? If not, what adjustments need to be made for next year?
  • Think about the goals that you want to achieve in 2019, as well as goals and milestones that you would like to achieve over the next 3, 5 and 10 years.  Ask yourself, “What actions do I need to implement to give me a greater chance to accomplish these goals?” Then, set out a plan to get these actions done.

I hope these tips get you focused on year-end planning and looking forward to 2019. As most of us know all too well, the holiday season will fly by and the calendar will flip before we realize it!

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” – Unknown

Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett

How much do you need now and in the future? How long will your income last?

 

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