- Retirement Preparation: Maxed out available retirement vehicles? This would include, but not limited to, IRAs, Roths, 401(k) plans, SEPs and Defined Benefit Plans. Even if you think you make too much, there’s always something to contribute to. Do you know how much you need to save to spend what you would like to during retirement?
- Reducing Tax Burdens: Always consult with a CPA, but there are questions to ask yourself heading into the end of the year with respect to taxes. Is there a need or an opportunity for tax-loss harvesting? How can retirement accounts reduce your tax liability? Is there a large, taxable event next year that could affect how you close out 2019?
- Investment Strategies: Investment strategies set up and monitored for suitability and minimization in redundancy? Each strategy should be constructed to complement the others. Have you looked at diversification options outside of the core stocks and bonds universe? Alternative doesn’t necessarily mean risky.
- Lending and Debt: Have you had an expert look at your current debt and considered options for reducing rates and/or monthly payments? Not all debt is bad debt–especially with where rates are right now. Cash flow is the priority when considering certain types of loans and terms. Some debt can help generate a positive cash flow.
- Charitable Giving: Which charity or cause is close to your heart? Charitable giving can benefit you and society as a whole. You can possibly reduce your taxable income while contributing to something that's meaningful to your beliefs. There are even ways to set up your own charitable account to dictate which charities receive the benefit each year.
- Private Equity, Real Estate, Option Strategies: There are many ways to think outside the box to diversify earning power and the diversification of holdings. The important thing to consider is how much is too much with respect to any type of strategy. What will help you the most in the long-term?
- Family Legacy Planning: Do you have a plan set up to help transfer or pass wealth to the next generation? Account titling, estate planning, family gifting and investment strategies can all be used to positively affect what's left for your heirs when you are gone.
- Insurance: A periodic audit of your life insurance strategy is prudent. This step will improve your comfort level with how things will be handled when you're gone, increase what's left for the next generation, give you an option for income in retirement, and help with cash flow if your health starts to fail.
- Setting Goals: Implementing a Plan to Achieve them. Whether it be a college education for your kids, having an emergency fund, starting a new business, or saving for a wedding, the first step toward achieving any goal is to define it. Every goal can be reached with the right plan, and the earlier that plan is implemented, the easier it is to achieve. Lending, taxes and investments can all play a part if used correctly.
- Total Financial Integration: With all of these topics and more always floating around in your mind and on your balance sheets, have you taken the time to get a handle on everything? Investments affect taxes, taxes affect wealth transfer, family needs affects insurance, and so on. Making sure that every aspect of your financial well-being is in sync with the next is the biggest aspect that people overlook when it comes to planning for their future.
Article by Julie Brown Patton
Originally published in Brentwood Lifestyle