The end of the year is a time for reflection and goal setting. It's also a great time to do financial housekeeping and ensure you're on track for a successful year ahead. After all, planning can save you a lot of money and stress down the road.
To help you get started, we've created this financial checklist for the end of the year. Use it as a guide to review your progress and set yourself up for a prosperous new year.
You can lower your tax bill by "harvesting" losses on investments that have decreased in value. This strategy involves selling losing investments and using the losses to offset gains from other investments, up to a maximum of $3,000 per year.
For example, you invested $10,000 in Company A shares last year. This year, the value of those shares has decreased to $8,000. If you sell the shares, you can claim a $2,000 loss on your taxes.
The technique can be complex, so speak with a financial advisor or tax professional before acting.
If you haven't done so, now is a good time to review your investment portfolio and make any necessary adjustments. This may include rebalancing your investments to align with your goals, selling losing investments, and investing any extra cash you may have.
It's also a good idea to review your investment expenses, such as management fees and commissions. If these costs are eating into your returns, it may be time to look for more affordable options.
You can use online tools to review your portfolio and find ways to improve it. There are several free tools that can help you assess your portfolio and make recommendations for improvement.
You don't have to be retired to start planning for retirement. The sooner you start saving, the better.
If you have a retirement account, such as a 401(k) or IRA, now is a good time to review your contributions and ensure you're on track to reach your goals. If you're behind on your savings, consider increasing your contributions for the new year.
Requirement minimum distribution (RMD) is the minimum amount you should withdraw from certain retirement accounts each year. The purpose of RMDs is to ensure that you don't delay withdrawals from your retirement account until after you retire.
If you're subject to RMDs, take them by the deadline, or you may be penalized. You can usually withdraw more than the minimum amount, but you'll pay taxes on any money above the RMD.
Converting to Roth IRA
Do you have a traditional IRA? If so, you can convert it to a Roth IRA. This can be a good option if you think your retirement tax rate will be higher than it is now.
With a traditional IRA, you don't pay taxes on the money you contribute but remit taxes on withdrawals in retirement. On the other hand, a Roth IRA is funded with after-tax dollars. This means you won't owe taxes on withdrawals in retirement.
The end of the year is a great time to make charitable donations. Not only will you help those in need, but you can also lower your tax bill.
You can deduct charitable donations if you itemize deductions on your tax return. Keep in mind that there are limits on how much you can deduct.
Don't let the end of the year sneak up on you. Use this financial checklist to get organized and achieve your financial goals. Review your progress, adjust, and set yourself up for a prosperous new year.