The Financial Naughty List

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Nobody wants to be on the Naughty List – especially when it comes to finances.  Santa’s Naughty List might get you a piece of coal, but your financial Naughty List might prevent you from making proactive decisions, costing you a significant amount of money.

Here are some things you should consider before the year’s end to secure your spot on your financial Nice List.

Investing:

Lately, the stock market is like a New Year’s Eve party with plenty of things to celebrate.  Stocks have been on an unprecedented winning streak where the bulls have the run on Wall Street.  But, just like that New Year’s Eve party, midnight will strike and the party will end.

NOW is the time to stress test your portfolio to see how you would react to market downturn.  Everyone likes to take investing risks when the market is up, but how much are you willing to lose on those risks when the market has a downturn?

  • When was the last time you looked at the potential risk for your portfolio?  Do you know the amount of risk you are comfortable taking or how you will handle market uncertainty?
  • A stress test should be done periodically to make sure that your portfolio is in line with your goals and financial “comfort zone”.  Things like age, income, and big financial changes all play a part in your personal level of risk tolerance. A young investor in his or her early 30’s might be more aggressive with their portfolio than a seasoned investor in their 60’s.  Verify that your portfolio matches your level of your risk.
  • Our Investment team here at Wealthedge® can analyze your portfolio against different scenarios to show your how much you would be set to gain or lose – helping you see exactly what portfolio model  best fits your comfort zone right now.

Taxes:

  • Tax loss harvesting should be done by December 31st.  All losses need to have occurred within the calendar year.
  • Charitable Contributions that are applicable to 2019 MUST be made by the end of the year.
  • 529 Contributions need to be made by December 31st to be applicable to this year’s taxes
  • Avoid buying a mutual fund in December that anticipates paying a capital gains distribution.  This can cause a taxable event.
  • If you are 70 ½ or older, do not forget to take your required minimum distribution (RMD) based on ALL of your retirement accounts – or else you could be hit with a 50% tax penalty on the amount of the distribution that you should have taken.
  • Employee Benefits:
  • Make sure that all elections are made that may affect the 2020 tax year
  • If your FSA Dependent Care Account is a “use it or lose it” account, ensure that the funds are used by the end of the year.
  • FOR BUSINESSES:
  • Qualified Retirement Plans need to be ESTABLISHED by December 31st in order to reap any tax advantages.  (They can be funded later, but they need to be established by year’s end)
  • Equipment purchases made within the year (up to $1 million) can be used as a deductible expense  & does not need to be depreciated

 

**Remember, even though taxes are due in April, they are considered for the calendar year (ending in December).  Therefore, any mechanism that can help ease your tax burden should be done BEFORE the calendar changes.

So, consider these suggestions to keep you on the Nice List to the end of the year and beyond.  And if this seems too daunting, make your list and ask US to check it twice – that’s what we are here for!

To all of our clients, best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!