Year-End Financial Moves: 6 Steps to Secure Your Future

Year-End Financial Moves: 6 Steps to Secure Your Future

Financial planners weigh in on the essential actions to take before the year ends

As the year draws to a close, it’s crucial to take stock of your financial situation and make strategic moves to set yourself up for success in the coming year. To help guide you through this process, we reached out to financial planners who shared their expert advice on the key financial steps you should take before December 31. From updating beneficiaries to maximizing retirement savings, these actions can have a significant impact on your financial well-being. So, let’s dive into the six crucial moves you should make before the clock runs out.

Update Beneficiaries and Review Insurance Coverage

Ensuring that your beneficiaries are up to date on your investment accounts and life insurance policies is a critical step in estate planning. The end of the year serves as a timely reminder to review and update these designations. By taking the time to confirm your beneficiaries, you can ensure that your hard-earned assets are distributed according to your wishes. Additionally, it’s essential to review your insurance coverage, including life insurance, long-term disability insurance, and long-term care insurance, to ensure you and your loved ones are adequately protected.

Make Charitable Donations and Financial Gifts

The holiday season is synonymous with giving, making it the perfect time to make charitable donations. By donating to recognized charities, you may be eligible for tax deductions of up to 60% of your income. However, it’s important to remember that these deductions are only applicable if you itemize your deductions. Additionally, the season of giving presents an opportunity to make financial gifts to loved ones. In 2023, individuals can gift up to $17,000 per recipient without having to file a gift tax return.

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Maximize Pretax Retirement Savings

December is an ideal time to assess your retirement planning contributions and ensure you’ve maximized your pretax savings. Take a close look at your individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and employer-sponsored 401(k) plans to ensure you’ve reached the contribution limits. For IRAs, the annual contribution limit is $6,500, or $7,500 for individuals aged 50 or older. Employer-sponsored 401(k) plans allow for higher contributions, with a maximum employee contribution of $22,500, or $30,000 for those aged 50 and over. Don’t forget to update your payroll deductions and IRA contributions to reflect the new caps for 2024.

Take the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)

If you’re 73 or older, it’s crucial to complete your required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your IRA by December 31. RMDs are mandatory withdrawals from retirement accounts that the IRS requires individuals to make once they reach a certain age. Failing to withdraw the required amount can result in a 25% excise tax on the funds you didn’t cash out. Consult a financial adviser or refer to an RMD table to determine the amount you need to withdraw.

Harvest Tax Losses

Tax-loss harvesting is a strategy that allows you to leverage investment losses to offset gains and reduce your taxable income. By selling underperforming investments and replacing them with similar ones, you can take advantage of the losses to reduce your taxable capital gains. This technique is particularly beneficial when done before the end of the year. Consult with a financial planner to determine if tax-loss harvesting is suitable for your situation.

Conclusion:

As the year comes to a close, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to secure your financial future. By updating beneficiaries, reviewing insurance coverage, making charitable donations, maximizing retirement savings, taking required minimum distributions, and harvesting tax losses, you can position yourself for a successful year ahead. Remember, consulting with a financial planner can provide personalized guidance tailored to your unique circumstances. So, don’t wait—start taking action today to set yourself up for a prosperous tomorrow.

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