Year-end planning review checklist

Year-end planning review checklist

It’s important to assess personal finances before the end of the year to determine if action is needed. This may include reviewing portfolios, funding retirement accounts, and making gifts to family members or charities.

Review this checklist for opportunities to minimize taxes and other potential benefits.

Here are a few highlights from each area:

Keep investments on track

  • Investors may want to work with their advisor to rebalance their portfolios and to make sure the allocation is on track.
  • Be aware of mutual fund distribution dates before making purchases

Identify opportunities to minimize taxes

  • Estimate projected income for the year to determine your marginal tax bracket
  • If a low tax bracket applies, consider accelerating income before the end of the year; if a high tax bracket applies, consider deferring income into next year if possible
  • Consider harvesting tax losses to offset capital gains

Focus on retirement planning priorities

  • Maximize retirement savings including catch-up contributions if age 50 or older
  • Remember to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) if age 72 or older
  • If concerned about higher taxes in the future, consider a Roth IRA conversion

Understand options for charitable giving

  • Make charitable gifts before year-end to lower taxable income (if itemizing deductions)
  • If age 70½ donate to charities from your IRA using a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD)
  • Lump several years of charitable gifts into one year to itemize deductions on the tax return

Create a legacy for family members

  • Utilize the annual gift tax exclusion before year-end ($15,000 per individual or $30,000 for married couples electing to split gifts)
  • Make sure important documents (e.g., wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare directives) are in place and up to date
  • For gifts, contribute to 529 college savings plans

Consult with an advisor

It is important to discuss tax, charitable giving, retirement, and estate planning strategies with a tax and financial advisor to determine if they are appropriate for an overall financial plan.


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