Schulfer & Associates, LLC

10 Financial Resolutions for the New Year

A new year can either be a fresh start, a time to tweak or you can let it roll by without doing anything different at all.  If resolutions are your thing, here is a checklist.  Ten financial resolves for 2019.

  1. Face important decisions head-on.  Look over your next 12 months.  Big decisions involving money are easy to put off but may cost you in the long run.  Remember that you are not alone.  Engage the help of others including trusted family members or a friend and seek professional advice.
  2. Review your life insurance policies.  If they are permanent policies, ask for in-force illustrations so that you may review the projected performance of the policy on a guaranteed basis.  In other words, how long is your policy guaranteed to last?
  3. Review your beneficiary designations and account titling.  Beneficiary designations are listed on life insurance policies and retirement accounts.  Transfer on death instructions can be added to individually owned accounts.
  4. Assess risk in your portfolio.  How do you expect your investments to behave during different stages of market cycles?  Should adjustments be made?
  5. Consolidate when appropriate.  Depending upon registration, some accounts may be combined with each other.  If the investments are similar, it may not make sense to have multiple accounts, especially if they are with more than one provider.  Having accounts in multiple locations is not diversification, it is complication.
  6. Tax opportunities.   Many of the provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 are scheduled to sunset at the end of 2025.  Are there opportunities for you?  One example may be conversions from an IRA to a ROTH IRA.  A conversion does not have to be done all in one year.  Some may find it beneficial to their individual circumstances to convert portions of their IRA for the next few years while we know what the tax brackets are.
  7. Understand Required Minimum Distributions.  If you are turning 70 ½ in 2019, welcome to RMD’s!  If your spouse is more than ten years younger than you are, you are entitled to use a different IRS table for your RMD calculation than if your spouse were closer in age to you.  Know your RMD requirements if you’ve inherited a retirement account as a non-spouse beneficiary at any age.  If you do not take a required minimum distribution that you were supposed to, the IRS penalty is 50% of what you should have withdrawn.
  8. Have a plan for long-term care needs.  What would it look like operationally and financially if you or your spouse were to need long term care?  What is your plan?  It may or may not involve insurance.  The point is to have a plan.
  9. Understand your social security options.  If you are/were the higher income earning spouse, your election of benefits will impact your husband or wife if you predecease them.  If you are a widow, special provisions may exist for you.
  10. Resolve to complete your resolutions checklist.  Take all year if you need, but commit to complete. Hence, this one is a “freebie” if you check-off the other nine!

I wish you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019!

 

LouAnn Schulfer is co-owner of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals and can be reached at (715) 343-9600 or louann.schulfer@lpl.comwww.SchulferAndAssociates.com

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC

 

Traditional IRA account owners should consider the tax ramifications, age and income restrictions in regards to executing a conversion from a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.  The converted amount is generally subject o income taxation.