Year-End Tax Planning Tips

Excerpts from the TGIF 2 Minutes Archives:

The beginning of October means we are in the 4th Quarter… and the countdown begins to year-end. The following are excerpts from the Year-End Tax Planning Checklist.* Several of these items, if addressed now, could make a big difference to your 2019 tax filing AND add to your savings.

variety of pumpkins
The beginning of October means we are in the 4th Quarter… and the countdown begins to year-end.

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The Cable Bill

Here is a “fun fact” in the form of a question to ponder over the Labor Day holiday weekend: How much do you think you will need to have saved to pay your cable bill over the course of your retirement?  (Answer is below*)

First, some context. I do get questions like this one often from my smarter clients who are truly goal-oriented and who realize how breaking down various retirement (or other) goals into bite-sized pieces makes the whole “affording retirement thing” much easier. Questions like:

  • How much should we be saving monthly in order to retire or slow down someday?
  • What kind of annual income can we expect from our portfolio someday?
  • How much will we need to have saved to afford future healthcare costs? (You can substitute other costs such as cable, vacations, kids’ costs, etc.)
photo of cup near flat screen television
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Is There an Optimal 401k Balance?

More on the topic of 401k saving: Can there be an “optimal amount” to have in a traditional 401k? At the very least, adjustments can be made to get close-to-optimal. And timing wise with the calendar approaching mid-year there is ample time (unless you have already maxed out your 401k) to make meaningful adjustments to your 2019 401k elections and start the optimizing process.

bank banknotes bill cash
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This topic is especially important for those who take saving seriously and who have at least $400,000 TODAY in a 401k or IRA Rollover accounts combined with a 401k account. (For those with less, these concepts still matter but with less urgency.)

First: How old are you?

  • Age matters because TIME is one of the biggest determinants of how much a 401k balance can potentially grow.
  • If you are younger than 40, these concepts could affect you A LOT as the power of compounding can kick in over multiple decades (this does not mean trading; rather saving, allocating and allowing compounding to do its work).
  • If you are older than 60 and nearer to retirement or selling a business, these concepts matter greatly but the solutions will be slightly different.
  • If you are in your 50’s, a combination of strategies can work – and keep in mind the “catch up” that allows you to save more.

Continue reading “Is There an Optimal 401k Balance?”

How Much is Too Much in a 401k?

Now that the 2018 tax filing season is mostly over it is time to talk the reality of 2019 taxes – and more important, taxes beyond 2019. This leads to the question, “How much is too much in a 401k?”

work desk
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This subject requires more than one edition of TGIF 2 Minutes. For starters here are a handful of issues, facts and questions to ponder over the upcoming long weekend: Continue reading “How Much is Too Much in a 401k?”

14 Numbers that May Surprise You

This is a re-run of a TGIF 2 Minutes article that appeared in May 2018, with a few updates.

The following are from a recent article in the Journal of Financial Planning* – and they are not snoozers! In fact, several truly surprised me. Check ’em out. All from formal surveys.

black calculator near ballpoint pen on white printed paper
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5 End of Year Questions

It is nearing year-end and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to double-check certain items NOW. The best financial advisers can and should be drawing your attention to these items in order to make your year-end easier and less stressful. 

Here is a list of questions I review annually with clients:

black calendar close up composition
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Mindset Scorecard

If it is “TGIF” that is a good thing. Let’s have a little fun here.

What is your current mindset, financially?

If that is a difficult question to answer right way – or even if not – check out a useful tool: “The Retirement Mindset Scorecard.” Even if retirement is not your primary concern today, the Scorecard is still relevant and helpful!

There are 8 categories to Financial Mindset, as we see it:Retirement Mindset Scorecard

  • VISION
  • PREPAREDNESS
  • AWARENESS
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • PROTECTIONS
  • SUPPORT STRUCTURE
  • HEALTH AND WELLNESS
  • GUIDANCE

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