Your Year-End Financial Planning Checklist
At AllStreet, part of our job as financial planners is to review our client's full financial picture and make adjustments where necessary.
Annual reviews are necessary to stay on top of things and these are a few areas we often see missed, as well as some financial housekeeping tasks:
Review 401(k) and IRA contributions
- Whether you have a standard 401(k) through an employer or Solo 401(k) as an entrepreneur, consider maxing out contributions to lower your taxable income
- Consider contributing to a Traditional IRA to lower taxable income ($6,000 contribution limit)
Review Roth conversion
If your income disqualifies you for contributing to a Roth IRA, consider contributing to a traditional IRA and then converting it to a Roth IRA (also consider talking with a tax or financial professional before implementing)
Roth IRA Contributions
Consider contributing $6,000 to a Roth IRA (under age 50) for tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals at retirement
Review current insurance policies - health, life, disability, home, auto etc - to ensure accuracy, appropriate coverage, and appropriate cost.
Tax-loss harvesting (especially if you've invested in crypto)
Consider selling some investments at a loss - up to $3,000/year - to reduce your taxable income
Take some time to review your financial goals and your progress towards them. Adjust and set new goals where necessary.
Review debt pay off
Review current debts and pay off dates - consider funneling more money towards high-interest debts (if applicable)
Depending on your situation, you should have 3-6 months saved in an emergency fund, some funds set aside for other goals, but most importantly, make sure you're saving at least a little bit of money each month. It could be $10, but get in the habit of doing it consistently.
Make note of large annual expenses next year
If you make annual payments on necessary expenses such as insurance, make note of when the annual payment is due so monthly cash flow isn't affected when the time comes
Check account beneficiaries
Review beneficiaries on accounts to ensure info is up-to-date and accurate. Having incorrect beneficiaries could mean that your funds end going to the wrong person (such as an ex-spouse).
Set up a "gifting" savings account
This is one of my favorite tips. Create a separate savings account and set aside some money you receive for Christmas or a bonus or extra money throughout the year to buy friends & family gifts. Having a dedicated account for gifting can also make holiday time less stressful.
Simplify accounts (h/t Travis Gatzmeier)
Consolidate accounts where necessary (e.g. old investment accounts such as 401(k)'s from previous employers, savings accounts at different banks, etc)
Review Estate Plan
Ensure estate documents are accurate and up-to-date (will, POA, trust)
Consider funding HSA (Health Savings Account)
If enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan, consider contributing up to $3,600 (for singles) or $$7,200 (married filing jointly) to an HSA to reduce taxable income by contributed amount
While this is a long list, it isn't comprehensive. Some of the tasks may not apply to your situation, and you may have some tasks that need to be done that weren't listed.
If 2022 is your year to make peace with your money, it may be worth looking into a fee-only financial planner. XY Planning Network has a database of 500+ planners that specialize in certain niches or serve certain clients.
Some may offer project-based engagements so you can get your most pressing questions answered and addressed without a long-term relationship, or some may do a month-to-month subscription service for long-term relationships.
Whatever you do, before you decide to work with a financial professional of any sort, always ask them how they get paid and if they can't provide a straightforward answer, don't be afraid to move on.