We have no doubt you’ve secured a spot on the “nice” list this holiday season. Still, if you’re looking for bonus points with the folks keeping track, consider completing one more good deed: Spend a few minutes doing a year-end financial review.
While it might not be considered the most joyful of holiday traditions, taking the time to check your accounts and make any necessary adjustments may help you feel more organized going into the new year. Transamerica’s Advanced Markets Group offers this comprehensive checklist, and it’s certainly worth a read.
A few key considerations:
1) Review life changes with a financial professional and your company’s HR person.
That means if you got married, divorced, had a baby, changed jobs or encountered any number of events that could impact your financial strategies, it’s worth talking about. You’ll want to assess how these things affect your ability to save, budget, and pay off debt. It might also be time to update your tax withholdings, so set up a meeting with HR. While you’re at it, make sure your beneficiary designations are current on all of your accounts.
2) Maximize contributions to your retirement accounts.
Since we’ve already made the assumption you’re on the “nice” list, we’ll also assume you’re making regular contributions to some type of retirement savings account. (If not, you might want to make that a priority in the new year.) Review your accounts and make sure you’re maximizing contributions if possible.
In 2017, you can contribute up to $18,000 to a traditional 401(k) if you’re under the age of 50. If you’re 50 and over, you’re allowed an additional $6,000 catch-up contribution, for a total $24,000 for the year. In 2018, the limit goes up to $18,500 and the catch-up contribution remains the same.
A traditional IRA allows a contribution of $5,500 if you’re under 50 in 2017. If you’re 50 and over, you can add an additional $1,000 this year. The limit remains the same in 2018.
3) If you’re a small-business owner, examine options for retirement accounts.
When you work for someone else, your workplace retirement account options are often chosen for you. But if you own your business, you have the opportunity to establish a program that may benefit your employees, as well as you and your company. Transamerica’s Advanced Markets Group offers this helpful guide to determine an option that might best fit your needs based on your goals and situation. In addition to the aforementioned 401(k), you can also consider a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) IRA and a SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) IRA. Based on the number of employees, administration costs, eligibility of employee and/or employer contributions, and contribution schedules, you can select an appropriate retirement savings vehicle for your situation.
The guide takes you through a series of questions and scenarios to give you an idea of where to begin. Of course, it’s worth speaking to a financial professional before making a decision.
Do you have any year-end financial tasks you regularly complete to stay on track? Share your thoughts below.
Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide tax, investment or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors and financial professional regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.