8 Point Financial Checklist for the New Year

Story by Lindsey Chester with Pete D’Arruda of Capital Financial Advisory Group. Pete contributes to the Money Matters column on CaryCitizen.

Cary, NC – As the year draws to a close, its a good time to take financial inventory. Pete D’Arruda has created a simple 8 item checklist that everyone should review at least once a year, and just prior to tax prep is excellent timing. This list will help with year-end review and plans for next year.

1.Taxes

Review the following before preparing your taxes:

  • sale of any appreciated property
  • gains and losses
  • potential deductions and credits

Have your tax advisor prepare year-end tax projection.

Check loss carry-forwards from last year.

Collect cost basis info on sold securities.

Identify any transactions that can improve tax situation.

2.Retirement

Fund what you can before the end of the year

  • Analyze Roth conversion scenarios
  • Max out 401K contributions
  • Max out IRA contributions
  • Open a retirement plan (if newly employed)
  • Take required minimum IRA distribution if over 72
  • Review overall retirement income strategy

3.Investments

Confirm your goals and strategies

Review the following:

  • asset allocation
  • fundamentals of portfolio positions
  • income and savings needs

4. Insurance

Identify material changes in life, business, or financial circumstances that may require insurance adjustments

Review:

  • life insurance policies
  • costs of current insurance policies
  • health coverage

5. Health

Calculate medical insurance deductible. If not met, consider holding off on certain medical treatments til after Jan 1. If met, consider the opposite.

Spend any remaining money in Flexible Spending Accounts (if you have)

Review:

  • Medicare enrollment options
  • Health Savings Account contributions (if have one)

6. Milestones

If you are the following ages- check these items:

  • 50: make catch up contributions to IRAs
  • 55: You can take distributions from 401K plans without penalty if retired
  • 59-1/2: You can take distributions from IRA without penalty
  • 62-70: You can apply for Social Security benefits
  • 65: You can apply for Medicare
  • 70-1/2: You MUST begin taking distribution from IRAs.

7. Changes

Any of the following can effect your financial position and your tax return:

Did you ?

  • Move
  • Sell a major asset or business
  • Transfer major financial assets
  • Refinance your home
  • Change jobs
  • Get married/ divorced
  • Add to your family through birth or adoption
  • Lose a loved one
  • Receive a gift or inheritance

8. Family

Now is the time to think about your loved ones.

  • Contribute to education accounts
  • Review trust funds
  • Make cash gifts to family members
  • Plan charitable contributions

We all know we should be thinking about all of this, but let’s face it – life is busy. As the close of the year approaches,  check through this list to assess your financial health. You’ll be glad you did.

Pete D’Arruda hosts the radio program Financial Safari and is the  president of Capital Financial Advisory, LLC in Cary, North Carolina. In our area Pete can be heard on WPTF 680am  live Saturday mornings from 7am-8am. He apprears Tuesday mornings on NBC-17 between 6am-7am.

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