2022 Year-End Financial Planning Checklist
It’s human nature to wait until the last minute to take care of tasks we know are important but who has the time? This is where having a plan going into the start of a year as well as a checklist to track progress throughout the year can be a big help. As you work through your checklist, you will want to pay particular attention to deadlines (where applicable).
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TAD KASTMAN, CFP
Wealth Management Advisor
1. Your Goals
Financial planning starts with the hard work of defining your goals, both financial and personal. Now you have targets to shoot for, and it’s simply a matter of devising and implementing a strategy that gives you the best probability of hitting the target.
Inevitably, life throws you curveballs so it’s important to adjust your plan accordingly.
If you’re really honest, the likelihood that something has changed is pretty high. Maybe you’ve had some health worries this year, want to retire a little sooner or perhaps you discovered a new passion. The point is your advisor needs to know and your financial plan needs to reflect these changes.
2. Account Performance
This is one that gets a lot of attention. But it’s important that you understand how your financial accounts performed relative to your goals not just relative to indices that might not be appropriate.
Sure, it’s tempting to measure your investment results relative to major market indices, but there is not one single index by which your performance should be measured. If you are not measuring your performance against your goals and a group of indices, how do you know whether you’re on track or not?
3. Charitable Gifts
Many nonprofits and charities ramp up their efforts at the end of the year to ask for contributions. And many of us forget to contribute until the end of the year, too. In fact, nearly one-third of all giving happens in the month of December, and 12% of all giving happens in the last three days of the year.* Why wait?
4. Retirement Contribution
Yes, you have until next April 15th to contribute to IRAs for the current tax year, but most other retirement plan contribution deadlines are December 31st.
If you receive a bonus, ask your employer to put a portion of your bonus into your 401(k) or other retirement savings plan at work.
5. Update Your Beneficiaries
As you reflect back over the year, think about anything that may impact who you want designated as your beneficiaries. It is not uncommon for people to overlook the importance of keeping the beneficiary form updated. This one-page document, not your will, decides who gets your retirement account.
If you got married, had kids, or got divorced recently, chances are the form is out of date. Should something happen to you, your family members may be shocked to find out who is or isn’t going to be the recipient of your 401(k) money. Most plans give you online access to the form, so make sure you capture any changes.
6. Tax Losses & Gains
You must take all realized tax losses (or gains) in your portfolio by December 31st. You should also review your year-to-date gains or losses and any tax-loss carry-forwards from previous years with your financial advisor.
7. Year End is Stressful Enough
Year-end can be a very busy time, especially when you factor in holiday shopping, family visits and social events. Just be sure to meet with your advisor to take care of all these financial planning items particularly when deadlines are involved. And remember that the financial institution that handles your accounts may be processing tens of thousands of year-end transactions, so you want to give them ample time to handle your needs.
*“Online Giving Statistics,” Charity Navigator, Accessed October 2019, https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1360
QA and its wealth management advisors do not provide legal, accounting or tax advice. Our advisors have general knowledge of certain matters included in this information, but individual situations may require the advice of licensed legal, accounting and tax professionals.
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