Thursday, December 10, 2015

Year-End Tips for Investors

Retirement Savings
  • Make sure you reach your target savings amount for your retirement plan at work (401k, 403b, TSP, etc.).
  • Aim for 15% of your salary (gross pay), but do an Investment Plan with me to be more sure.
  • $18k per year maximum for folks under age-50; $24k for 50+, thanks to the $6k "catch-up contribution" the IRS allows.
  • If you are not there yet but can afford to reach those limits, call HR/Payroll at work and figure out how to make it happen in your final paychecks of this year.

529 college savings plans...
  • Any contribution you want to count for 2015 should be made this month, before 12/31/15.
  • Do NOT make check payable to the child--it messes things up; DO consult with the 529 Plan and your tax advisor for best method.
  • If you give more than a certain amount per year, it can affect your estate tax deduction.
  • If you are wealthy enough to have that "problem", let me help you optimize.

Employee Benefits
  • Each employer offering healthcare insurance and other benefits has some schedule for renewing for next year and/or updating.
  • Please make sure you are set up the way you want for 2016.
  • Call HR for help (wish I could help directly).

Review Investments
  • Know your risk tolerance profile, so you know how to allocate your investments strategically.
  • Are you Moderate (60/40 stocks to bond), Aggressive (90+ % in stocks), Conservative (20/80)?  Is that right for you?
  • Are the investments good enough, or do you need to use better mutual funds?
  • If you are a stock investor, please keep me in the loop, as I have access to good research.
  • Change your portfolios accordingly.

  • Make sure you pay your estimated taxes on time and as accurately as possible.
  • Even if you don't need to make estimated tax payments, work with your tax advisor and HR/Payroll to make sure you are withholding enough to avoid a big tax bill later on.
  • If you don't have a tax advisor, contact me for referrals--I have good people.

 Planning Ahead
  • My most "successful" clients are those who are on track to meet their goals and understand why/how.
  • It's not about how much they have so much as whether what they have is (or will be) enough to meet their personal goals.
  • Most of them are using the Investment Plan my firm offers.
  • It takes a little bit of extra effort (giving me statements for non-Schwab accounts, telling me about your goals/dreams for retirement...), but it's worthwhile.
  • Let's schedule a call or meeting about your Plan!

Be well and make time to enjoy the holiday season even as you work hard at the office and/or home here at the end of the year.

Thank you for your business and your time!

--Gary P.