Year-End Financial Planning Tips

December is upon us, which means I basically have your attention for about two more weeks max.

After that, let’s face it, we’re all checking out for the rest of 2018.

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So while I have you, and as the year comes to an end, it's a perfect time to review some year-end financial planning tips.

For such an occasion there's no better duo than Michael Goodman and Brenna McLoughlin from Wealthstream Advisors. And in the interest of full disclosure, not only is Michael a dear friend of mine, he's also my advisor.

We discussed a variety of financial planning topics to ponder before you shut down for the holidays, including:

  • Selling assets in your portfolio now versus waiting until next year: Losses offset gains that you have taken previously in the year; if you have more losses than gains, you can deduct up to $3,000 of losses against ordinary income.

  • Take Required Minimum Distributions: Generally, once you turn 70 1/2, you must begin withdrawing a specific amount of money from your retirement assets (there are some exceptions). The penalty for not taking your RMD is steep at 50 percent on the shortfall!

  • Consider a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD): One way to sidestep the taxation on your RMD is to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution, which allows you to gift directly from your IRA to a charity without having to include the distribution in your taxable income.

  • Making last minute 529 plan contributions: Money saved in these programs grows tax-free and withdrawals used to pay for college sidestep taxes, too. You can invest up to $15,000 in 2018 without incurring a federal gift tax and many states offer state tax deductions for the contributions.

  • Considering how tax changes could affect you: With all the changes to the tax code, there’s plenty of items to keep in mind before filing your 2018 returns. 

So before you completely shut it down and wrap up your 2018 finances, you’ll want to listen to this episode to make sure there’s nothing you’re forgetting.
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