Year-End Financial Planning: Four Things To Do Now
Article written by Scott M. Kahan in Stroll Chappaqua - November 2023 Magazine
Many of us put off our finances until the end of the year. But if you’re tempted to delay further, consider this: now is your last chance to tie up financial loose ends for 2023.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or you’ve fallen behind, it’s not too late. November is a good time to act. Here are four things you can do before the end of the year to stay on track to accomplish your goals.
1. Reevaluate your financial planning goals:
Speaking of goals now is a good time to review them. Are you looking to fund a college education? Buy a second home? When do you want to retire? Are you on track to reach those goals? Have you put money toward them this year? Putting dollar amounts and time frames around them so you can see what’s possible and tackle it intentionally. This is where a Certified Financial Planner™ professional can help. Together, we chart a roadmap toward your goals. We take out the guesswork and put you on track to achieve your goals
2. Take advantage of open enrollment benefits:
‘Tis the season for open enrollment! Have you reviewed all the benefits available to you? I often find that people don’t look beyond the health plan—or know how to choose the right one. Are you coordinating with your spouse to maximize your benefits and minimize costs? Do you have the option to increase your long-term disability? If you’re not in a group plan or you’re self-employed, now’s the time to plan for 2024 insurance.
Look at your employee benefits carefully; you may be missing opportunities. Many companies will cover at least part of the cost of estate planning. Or even a financial planner.
3. Reallocate your investment portfolio and do tax planning:
It’s been a volatile year in the markets with stocks and bonds. Are you taking advantage of tax planning? Now is a good time to take any losses by selling to offset potential gains, and to rebalance your portfolio. Whatever allocation percentages you’ve set for different asset classes (stocks, bonds), if they’ve deviated, bring them back to where they should be.
While you’re at it, do some year-end tax planning to make sure you’re not under or over-withholding so you avoid a surprise come April. As you adjust, keep your goals in mind.
4. Fund your retirement accounts and 529 Plan:
Make sure you’re fully funding your retirement accounts—your 401(k) or 403(b) plans. If you’re not, start now. Always maximize your benefits if you can. If you have a 529 plan, make sure you’re funding it, too. Besides growing money for college, remember it’s a tax-saving vehicle. The money you invest in the New York state plan is deductible from your New York state tax return—up to $5,000 annually if you’re single and $10,000 if you’re married.
If you’ve reached this point in the year and you’re overwhelmed, that’s understandable. There’s a lot to keep track of. Working with a fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ professional not only helps you manage your money, we help to relieve the stress often brought on by finances. We handle your finances so you can focus on life. Clients tell me that’s the best benefit of all.