“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer
To do: 2022 is coming to a close in a few weeks. As financial advisors, we find year end to be fast paced, often frantic as everyone tries to cram in celebrations, family, travel, holidays and a plethora of other busyness into a few short weeks. At the same time, we find it possibly one of the most productive times of the year. Taking this time to focusing on what’s important in life can help make sure you’ve done all you can in 2022 and set the stage for a productive year ahead.
Here are 10 items you should be thinking about before ringing in the New Year:
- Revisit your financial plan – Remember that meeting when you asked if the plan’s working and we showed you your probability score? Reflect on that, are you on the path to financial independence or enjoying your encore phase of life in a manner that excites you? Do we need to make adjustments?
- Adjust tax withholding – Changes in income, withholding too much/too little is very common. No bill, no refund is a great aspiration.
- Contribute to 401k/retirement plans – Employee saving can be contributed through end of the year. This can reduce your taxes or increase your savings. And FYI, the limits are increasing again next year.
- Consolidate small/orphan accounts – There can be fees, benefits of adding them together and of course you don’t want to lose an account you’re not tracking. Use year end to gather you list of accounts to consolidate.
- Use calendar year benefits – Don’t let benefits expire! If you have a Flex-Spending Account, use-it-or-lose-it and 12/31 is the deadline.
- Donate to charity – Charitable donations are considered for taxes in the year donated. Not only can this be personally fulfilling, but it can reduce taxes April 15th.
- Update beneficiaries – Year end is a good time to make sure you have the right beneficiaries listed. Life changes, who you want to have your legacy may change too.
- Review life insurance – What else changed the last year? Income, new child, grandchildren, debt, care etc. Time to make sure you’re properly insured and that those policies are adequate – or even necessary anymore.
- Protect your savings – Let’s face it, the holidays can wreak havoc on your savings. By ramping up savings after the holidays, you can keep a healthy balance through the next year. Saved too much? You may also make sure you don’t give up too much opportunity by sitting in cash.
- Rebalance Investments/Tax-loss harvesting – Since our team does this for you, year-end is a good time to make sure your other accounts are doing this. If they aren’t, it could be a good time to bring them to your advisor.
Closing the books on the year inevitably brings up a lot of questions about investments and financial plans. Keep a pad of paper and pen nearby. Write those questions down and be sure to bring them up in the next conversation with your financial advisor.