7 Things That Should Be On Your Year-End Financial Checklist

The end of the year is a great time for some financial housecleaning. Keeping it in order is important now, so you can address any last minute needs, and create new goals as the New Year kicks in.

Here are 7 things you should review at yearend:


1. Investments. Situations change, and reviewing your investment strategy each year is a good way to keep on top of them. Check your asset allocations, and consider whether your current strategy is still working for you. If not, you can change things to better suit your current needs or desires.


2. Retirement planning strategy. Are you still able to max out your IRA and 401(k) contributions? Does a Roth IRA make sense this year? Don’t forget to take your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your traditional IRA(s) for this year before December 31, or you risk being penalized by up to 50% of the

RMD amount on top of the taxes you will already pay on that income.


3. Tax situation. High earning business owners and executives haven’t traditionally looked closely at tax deductions and credits, because they assumed they’d be stuck with the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). But with the rise in the top marginal tax bracket (39.6%), fewer of these folks aren’t subject to the AMT. This means taking a closer look at accelerated depreciation, R&D credits, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, incentive stock options, and certain types of tax advantaged investments. Look for any transactions that can help reduce your tax burden.


4. Charitable giving goals. Plan your gifts to charities, educational accounts, or family gifts now. Some gifts do count against the lifetime estate tax exemption amount, however. You can avoid the capital gains tax from the sale of appreciated securities you’ve owned for more than a year by gifting them to charity. You can also fund or set up a family trust, and now is the time to review yours if you already have established one.


5. Life insurance coverage. Review your policies and beneficiaries. Make sure everything is up to date and covers you in full. Make any changes needed now.


6. Life events. Did you get married or divorced this year? Move or buy a business? Lose a loved one, or become a fulltime caregiver for someone you love? There are a myriad of things that can happen in a year that will change your tax situation. Be sure to review any changes with your tax professional to help you stay on track.


7. Milestones reached in 2015. Age is just a number, but there are tax implications when you reach certain age milestones. If you’re nearing retirement or eligible for Medicare, you should discuss changes in your taxes with a professional.


Here at Helmstar Group, we are always happy to answer your questions about your finances and your future. Our yearly reviews are an important piece in keeping your financial future bright. And if you have life changes that you want to discuss with our team, give us a call. We want to help you create the best financial future possible.

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