The end of the year means different things for different people as they come up with resolutions and set their intentions to improve various aspects of their lives. But there’s one thing that everyone should do as the calendar starts to move towards another January, though — take stock of their personal finances and make any necessary moves before the new year. This page will walk you through what you need to do before the end of the year to make the most of your personal finances. For more help getting your finances ready for the end of the year consider working with a financial advisor to tackle these priorities.
1. Go Over Your Financial Plan
A lot can happen in a year. You may have made a major purchase, gotten a raise or gone on a vacation. This can have a big impact on your financial plan. You should check in with your financial advisor if you have one — or find one if you don’t.
2. Rebalance Your Portfolio
In addition to checking in on your overall financial plan, you should also examine your investment portfolio to see if you might benefit from rebalancing your portfolio. This is especially true in 2022 — the market has been extremely volatile, and you may need to take a look at your asset allocation. Switch money from stocks to bonds or vice versa if needed.
This is also a good time to think about if there are any investments you’re ready to move on from — or if there is a new investment you want to consider making.
3. Think About Taxes — and Tax-Loss Harvesting
Taxes aren’t due until April, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking about your tax bill right now. One specific way you can address taxes right now is tax-loss harvesting. Tax-loss harvesting is a process by which you can reduce your tax bill by selling securities at a loss. It is very important that you get this process right, as there are a lot of rules and regulations you’ll have to follow, so it makes sense to work with a financial advisor on this one.
4. Assess your Charitable Giving
Giving to charity is a good idea for a variety of reasons. First off, it makes you feel good and it does good for others. While those are obviously good enough reasons to give to charity, the third reason may be what pushes you over the edge — you can get a tax break. Charitable contributions are tax deductible, meaning you can end up owing less once you’ve filed. You have to make the deductions at the end of the year, though, to get the deduction on this year’s taxes, so write those checks and get them in before the new year.
5. Consider your Debt
The end of the year is also a good time to check in on your debt. If you got a Christmas bonus, for instance, you could use it to pay down some debt, whether it is outstanding credit card debt or a student loan that needs to be paid down.
6. Make Contributions to Your Retirement Plan
You can contribute up to $20,500 to your workplace retirement plan, such as a 401(k) in 2022. If you want to max out your contributions for this year, you’ll need to make sure you make any contributions by the end of the year. If you’ve already maxed out your contributions for this year, the maximum contribution will go up to $22,500 in 2023.
You can also make contributions to your individualized retirement plan, up to the limit of $6,000 for 2022. You do have a bit of extra time on this one, though, if you can allocate contributions for this year until tax day.
7. Consider Medicare Prices
If you’re old enough to be enrolled in Medicare, you need to make sure you know about price changes that will be coming in 2023. This is one where you’ll actually save a bit of money — the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B will go down from $170.10 to $164.90 in 2023. That isn’t exactly a windfall, but hey — it beats a price hike.
8. Look at Your Social Security Increase
Social Security, on the other hand, is going up, and in a big way. Due to record inflation in the past year, the increase will be 8.7%. Make sure you take that into account when considering your budget for 2023.
9. Review Your Estate Plan
The end of the year is also a great time to review your estate plan. There could be changes you want to make — if you’ve come into money or bought a new house, for instance, you’ll want to adjust your will. You should also check on the beneficiaries for all of your retirement accounts, especially if you’ve gone through a major life event like a wedding, a divorce or the birth of a child.
The Bottom Line
The end of the year is the perfect time to take stock of your personal finances and make any adjustments that need to be made. From catching up on retirement contributions to making charitable contributions, you have a bit of time left to get everything in order before 2023.
Financial Planning Tips
No matter the time of year, a financial advisor can help you make and execute a financial plan. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
If you have access to a 401(k) and haven’t opened an account yet, now may be the time to do it — open enrollment is often towards the end of the year. Make sure to put away enough to take advantage of any employer match you are offered.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/RgStudio, ©iStock.com/shironosov, ©iStock.com/hamzaturkkol
The post End-of-Year Financial Planning Checklist appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.