“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”
A. A. Milne
Seven Tips to Starting Next Year Not “All Mixed Up”
There’s a chill in the air, the leaves have all turned and Halloween is just a memory. The end of the year will be here before we know it, and Klingenstein Fields Advisors (KF Advisors) wants to help you get financially ready with some tips to make sure you meet deadlines, make the most of potential tax benefits, start the new year off financially organized and, of course, enjoy the holiday season!
1) Maximize your tax-advantaged retirement contributions. Make sure you’re contributing the maximum amount possible to your individual or company retirement plans. While it may not seem like a lot, every deduction helps reduce your potential tax burden and the benefits of tax-free compounding can be substantial over time. Education and Health Savings plans are other tax-advantaged opportunities that may be available to you.
2) Make your final charitable donations for the year. Giving not only lets you support cherished causes but can also provide important tax benefits. Contributions must be received by the organization to whom you’re giving before the end of the year in order to count for your 2017 tax return. Consider setting up a donor-advised fund account to better organize giving to multiple causes.
3) Consider gifting to your loved ones. Gifts can help reduce your taxable estate and provide funds to your loved ones for tuition, medical expenses or other needs. The annual gift tax exclusion amount for 2017 is $14,000 per recipient. If you are married, each of you has a $14,000 limit for a total of $28,000 per gift to an individual (your tax advisor can provide more detailed information).
4) Take your Required Minimum Distributions (RMD). If you have an inherited IRA, or are over age 70 ½ with a regular IRA, you may need to take an RMD for 2017 to avoid a penalty. Your account custodian may be relying on you to let them know how much you want to take, when you want to receive it and any federal or state withholding you want on the distribution. Working with your tax advisor, we can help you to make these arrangements.
5) Make sure your insurance is up to date. The end of the year is a good time to contact your insurance agent and review your insurance policies. If there have been changes in your situation, it may be time to amend your policies.
6) Determine any end of year transactions you need or want to make. If you’re planning on a big purchase, will be traveling extensively or will need funds for any reason, let KF Advisors know as soon as possible so we can make sure your needs are met in a timely fashion. Trusts, estates or other family entities with which you are involved may require distributions or other transactions by year end. We can help you organize these for timely completion.
7) Review any significant changes to your personal situation with your advisor. If there have been changes in your personal circumstances, it’s a good time to let your advisor know. This way, any year-end adjustments to your portfolio for tax or other purposes can incorporate any shifts in your life.