The end of the year is quickly approaching, and what a year it’s been. The S&P 500 is up more than 25%, and unemployment is near historic lows. It’s been a great year to make some money and do some good.
As we approach the end of the year, here are fifteen tips you can incorporate today.
- Contribute the maximum to your 401(k) or 403(b). You’re allowed to contribute $19,000 and if you’re 50 or older, you can add another $6,000.
- Contribute the maximum to your IRA. You’re allowed to contribute $6,000 and add another $1,000 if you’re 50 or older.
- Spend the money in your flexible spending account (FSA). The FSA is a “use it or lose it” plan, so make sure you spend it.
- The stock market has done well, but you may own a loser or two. If you are sitting on losses, sell them to offset your gains. The IRS will allow you to offset your gains dollar for dollar. If you have realized gains of $15,000, then you can realize losses of $15,000 to offset your gain. If you don’t have any realized gains, you can write off $3,000 per year until your loss is absorbed.
- If you have significant gains in a stock, consider gifting it to your favorite charity. You can send your shares in-kind directly to your charity to avoid capital gains. You’ll be able to deduct the fair market value of your gift. The charity can sell the shares, free of taxation, and use the proceeds for good.
- Review your asset allocation. With the increase in the stock market, your equity exposure might be too high relative to your risk level. If your alignment is off-kilter, consider rebalancing your account.
- Sell some of your investments to pay off your debt. Debt is a four-letter word, and the less debt you owe, the better off you’ll be.
- Take a trip. If you’ve done well this year, then reward yourself and take your family on a journey. It’s okay to spend money on experiences and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
- Update your beneficiaries. Review your beneficiaries on your retirement accounts and insurance policies. It only takes a few minutes to make the changes.
- Start, finish, or update your will. Have you been putting off contemplating your mortality? If so, use the holiday season to complete your will.
- Review your spending. Download your checking, savings, or credit card statements to Excel to review your spending habits.
- Start your budget to get ready for 2020. Apps like everydollar.com or mint.com can help you improve your budgeting.
- The IRS allows you to give away $15,000 per person. It’s a tax-free transfer, and there are no limits to how many people can benefit from your generosity.
- Donate cash to your favorite charity.
- Be an anonymous angel. Can you pay off someone’s debt? Do your local schools have children with student lunch debt? Are there families that need money for groceries or transportation? If you’re not sure, contact your local church or school because they usually have a list of people in need.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ ~ Matthew 25:21
November 29, 2019
Bill Parrott, CFP®, CKA®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM’s custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.
Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren’t suitable for every investor.