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Your Guide to Year-End Financial Planning

Your Guide to Year-End Financial Planning

As 2023 comes to a close, now is a great time to review your financial plan. With 2024 coming quickly, it’s crucial to reevaluate your financial objectives, consider any life changes impacting your finances, and stay informed about the latest tax and finance developments. Before your yearly financial advisement meeting, here are four areas to consider for your year-end financial planning.

Tax Planning Strategies

The first step in your guide to financial planning, as the year ends, is to nail down your tax planning strategies. First, be sure to understand and utilize any tax deductions and credits available to you. Investigate credits such as child tax credits, education credits, and energy efficiency credits. A financial professional can also help you discover and optimize various deductions and credits.

Additionally, reexamine your finances to see if you can reduce your taxable income in other ways. One way to do so is to defer your income. Deferred income refers to income you have received but not yet earned. This is common if you offer products or services and have received advance payments. Another way to reduce taxable income is by accelerating your donations. Giving multiple years worth of charitable contributions in one year can bring you closer to the threshold. 

Accounts such as FSAs and HSAs can also offer tax relief. Talk to your financial advisor to see if you qualify. They can help you choose the best option for your unique financial situation, understand your balances, your rollover options, and how to maximize your contributions.

It is important to note that tax laws change frequently. Thoroughly research any tax law changes that will affect you over the upcoming year.

Investment Portfolio Review

When conducting your year-end financial review, give your investment portfolio a check-up. Assess risk tolerance and make adjustments accordingly. Strategize your stock options. Is selling in January 2024 more tax-efficient than doing so this year? You can also look for opportunities for tax loss harvesting. This would involve selling underperforming investments to offset gains, potentially reducing your taxable income. The rules surrounding tax-loss harvesting are complex, so it is best to seek professional advice before taking action. Your financial advisor can help you assess the timing for selling your stock as well as your best options for investment overall. 

Retirement Planning

Year-end is a great time to fine-tune your retirement plans! Are you maxing out your retirement contributions? If you are not currently, it is worth considering, especially to leverage employer-match benefits in workplace plans or increase traditional IRA contributions. Contribution limits change annually, so make sure you are up to date with the latest rules.

Additionally, if you inherited an IRA, specific rules apply to you in regards to how much you have to take up annually, or if it’s your IRA and you’ve reached the required minimum distribution age, you also have to take out distributions.

Another consideration is Roth conversions. If your current tax bracket has room, converting traditional IRA savings into a Roth IRA might be beneficial. This strategy involves paying taxes upfront for tax-free growth later. Consult your advisor to see if this suits your long-term tax strategy.

Make sure that you’re balancing what you’re setting aside for retirement as well as taxable savings. You don’t want all your money in one bucket or the other!

Charitable Giving

The end of the year is often referred to as the season of giving – it’s a great time to look at your charitable giving. This can be a great thing to do from a tax perspective as well as to fulfill personal needs.

The first thing to do is look at donor-advised funds, which are a flexible aspect of charitable giving. You can put lump sums of cash and appreciated securities into a donor-advised fund. From there, you’re able to get a full tax deduction from the amount of money that you put into it. You’re able to give these funds out for however long you want to the charities of your choice.

If you’re at the required minimum distribution age, you can start a qualified charitable distribution (QCD). This allows you to take your RMD (required minimum distribution) and give it directly to the charity of your choice.

Generally, a donor-advised fund is a separately identified fund or account that is maintained and operated by a section 501(c)(3) organization, which is called a sponsoring organization. Each account is composed of contributions made by individual donors. Once the donor makes the contribution the organization has legal control over it. However, the donor, or the donor’s representative, retains advisory privileges with respect to the distribution of funds and the investment assets in the account. Donors take a tax deduction for all contributions at the time they are made, even though the money may not be dispersed to a charity until much later.

Are you ready to talk to a financial professional about your year-end financial planning? Contact Blakely Financial today to get started.

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
End of 2022 Blakely Financial Financial Planning Tips & Updates

Financial Planning Tips & Updates

The end of the year is a time for reflecting on what happened and planning for what is to come.  As 2023 draws closer, we wanted to highlight the changes that occurred in the past year, tax considerations for this year and next, and how you can prepare for a prosperous 2023.

Changes in 2022 that May Impact You

Some financial planning limits have changed for 2023, which may impact your retirement plan, Social Security, Medicare, federal tax rates, and standard deductions. Learn more via the links below, or consult the IRS website for full details on contribution limits. 

401(k) Contribution Limits

In October, the IRS announced an increase in the maximum amount you can contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement plan in 2023. 

Due to high inflation, the cost-of-living adjustment means maximum retirement contributions will be rising almost 10% in the upcoming year. The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan has been increased to $22,500 (which is up from $20,500 in 2022). Annual contribution limits have also been increased for traditional and Roth IRAs, up to $6,500 from the $6,000 limit of 2022.

Social Security Benefits

If you receive Social Security benefits, you can expect them to be boosted by 8.7% in 2023. This cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was announced by the Social Security Administration on October 13th, and it is a massive increase from that of previous years. 

Notice 2022-53

The notice, issued by the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, means updated regulations of required minimums for distributions, or RMDs. This notice comes in the wake of the significant confusion around the SECURE Act of 2019. This notice will provide some penalty relief to those who avoided taking RMDs as a result of the SECURE Act.

2022/23 Tax Considerations

Increase withholdings

Increasing your withholdings can be beneficial at any time of the year to ensure you will not be met with any unwanted surprises come tax season. Though it may not make a significant difference to increase withholdings close to the end of the tax year, it can be a great way to plan for 2023.

Save more for retirement 

Though retirement savings should be a year-round consideration, the end of the year is an optimal time to reassess the amount you have contributed throughout 2022 and prepare for the year ahead. Make sure you have claimed your full 401(k) match before the end of the year, and contribute to IRAs before tax day, to reap the full benefits of these accounts. Similarly, consider setting up a Health Savings Account (HSA) for the tax benefits and savings on healthcare. 

If you are 72 or older, do not forget to withdraw your required minimum distributions from traditional IRAs or 401(k)s before the end of the year! 

Defer income to next year

If you choose to defer any of your income into the next year, you can spend that additional cash on investments, which would otherwise go toward income tax. If you are not planning on entering a higher tax bracket in 2023, there are multiple ways for you or your business to defer taxable income until the new year. Another way to lower your tax bill is to accelerate deductions, which can be done by making a charitable donation before the end of the year.

Charitable Giving Strategies

The holidays are the perfect time to make a charitable donation to help your family get into the giving mood. There are many ways to give to charity, but if your gift is substantial, you can establish a private foundation, community foundation, or donor-advised fund.

Donor-advised funds offer a way to receive tax benefits now and make charitable gifts later. A donor advised fund is an agreement between a donor and a host organization (the fund). Your contributions are generally tax-deductible, but the organization becomes the legal owner of the assets. You (or a designee, such as a family member) then advise on how those contributions will be invested and how grants will be distributed. Although the fund has ultimate control over the assets, the donor’s wishes are generally honored.

 

How can you prepare for next year?

In addition to your preparations for tax season, the end of the year can be a great time to take a wider look at your financial progress and goals. Do you still aim to retire at a certain age? Are you still saving for the same goal (vacation, car, property)? Take note of how far you have come, and review what needs to be adjusted in the year ahead!

 

The holidays can be a very busy and stressful time; we hope these insights will help you end the year on a positive note and guide you into a financially successful 2023! As always, reach out to the Blakely FInancial team if you have any questions about your portfolio.

 

Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.

Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals.

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.