Financially Speaking: Mid-Year Financial Resolutions Checklist
By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF®
Accredited Wealth Management Advisor®
Accredited Investment Fiduciary®
Did you set resolutions for 2019? Did they include financial resolutions? I published an article “10 Financial Resolutions for the New Year” about six months ago. Below are some reminders for the recommendations.
- Face important decisions head-on. Short term and long term, evaluate, make a decision and follow your plan. Procrastination is likely not your financial friend. Remember that you are not alone. Engage the help of others including trusted family members or a friend and seek professional advice.
- Review your life insurance policies. Do they still fit your needs? Ask what the guarantees are on your policy. It’s better to know now than be surprised when it’s too late.
- Review your beneficiary designations and account titling. Do they still reflect your intentions? Are they as tax efficient as possible? Upon your passing or that or your spouse, will the transfer process go smoothly?
- Assess risk in your portfolio. How do you expect your investments to behave during different phases of market cycles? Should adjustments be made?
- Consolidate when appropriate. Depending upon registration, some accounts may be combined with each other. If the investments are similar, it may not make sense to have multiple accounts, especially if they are with more than one provider. Having accounts in multiple locations is not diversification, it is complication. Your beneficiaries, trustees and/or administrator of your estate will be grateful in the future.
- Tax opportunities. Many of the provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 are scheduled to sunset at the end of 2025, with an increase in income tax rates scheduled for many. Are there opportunities for you? One example may be conversions from an IRA to a ROTH IRA. Or, you may also find tax harvesting opportunities with volatile markets, which we are likely to continue to experience. Whether you have realized gains to offset for 2019, or if you plan to have capital gains in the future, for example, from the sale of investment property, highly appreciated stock or a business, do you have a strategy in place for tax harvesting?
- Understand Required Minimum Distributions. If you are turning 70 ½ in 2019, welcome to RMD’s! If your spouse is more than ten years younger than you are and the beneficiary of your IRA, you are entitled to use a different IRS table for your RMD calculation than if your spouse were closer in age to you. Know your RMD requirements if you’ve inherited a retirement account as a non-spouse beneficiary at any age. If you do not take a required minimum distribution that you were supposed to, the IRS penalty is 50% of what you should have withdrawn.
- Have a plan for long-term care needs. Think this through while you are healthy, just in case you wish to apply for some sort of insurance. Also, derive your plan while you are still making your own decisions. Without a plan in place and when multiple people become involved, it’s often hard on everyone.
- Understand your social security options. Your decisions may not only impact you, but your spouse if you predecease him or her as well.
- Resolve to complete your resolutions checklist. You can get a lot done in the six months that are left of 2019. This one then, is a “freebie” if you check-off the other nine!
LouAnn Schulfer is co-owner of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals and can be reached at (715) 343-9600 or l[email protected]. www.SchulferAndAssociates.com
Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.
Traditional IRA account owners should consider the tax ramifications, age and income restrictions in regards to executing a conversion from a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. The converted amount is generally subject to income taxation.