5 Important Financial Actions to Take Before the End of the Year
2022 has been a year of ups and downs. With the housing market reeling from interest rates doubling, to constant inflation concerns, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and a looming recession, many people are wondering (with more than a little trepidation) what 2023 will hold.
As the year comes to a close, there is some last-minute financial fine-tuning that can be done to help get 2023 off to a great start. Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. What’s in Your Emergency Fund?
Now is the time to ensure you have enough money set aside in your emergency fund or create a plan to build this up over the next year. An adequate emergency fund should cover 3-6 months of necessary living expenses, including mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, etc.
With all stock market uncertainty and recession fears, many experts have suggested maintaining a larger emergency fund closer to 6-12 months of expenses. If you’re single, or your household only has one source of income, consider saving on the higher end of this scale to make sure you’re covered in the event of a job loss or reduction in income.
However much you save, be sure this money is held in a highly liquid account. It needs to be readily available and easily accessible, but it should also be in an account which offers a competitive interest rate so you don’t lose out on potential growth.
2. Asset Allocation & Investment Impact Review
The end of the year is also a great time to review your asset allocation strategy and incorporate ESG and impact investing if desired. Given the dramatic market volatility and historic levels of inflation over the last year, it’s crucial you evaluate your investments and make sure your portfolio is properly diversified. It should also be tailored to your specific risk tolerance level, ensuring you are earning enough returns to keep up with inflation, but you are not overexposing yourself to risk.
If you are interested in using your funds to support environmental, social, or governmental issues (ESG), you can also consider impact investing as a way to earn returns while also promoting change on causes you care about.
3. Charitable Donations
Charitable donations are another option to be reviewed as the year-end approaches. The holidays are a great time to give money and assets to your favorite non-profits, churches, and organizations.
Charitable donations can be used as part of your overall tax strategy, or as part of a comprehensive estate plan. Both options provide many potential benefits including supporting causes you care about, reducing your taxable income, and reducing your taxable estate.
4. Employee Benefits
While every employee benefit plan has its own rules and regulations, many of them expire or reset at the end of the year. You worked hard for these perks, so be sure to use them before it’s too late!
Medical and Dental Benefits
Now’s the time to take care of all your healthcare needs before your deductible resets. Dental plans in particular often have a maximum coverage amount. If you haven’t used the full amount and anticipate any treatments, make it a priority to set an appointment before December 31st.
Flexible Spending Account
Like your health insurance benefits, you’ll want to use up as much of your FSA (flexible spending account) dollars as possible by the end of the year since you are only allowed to carry over $570 for the plan year ending 2022. Also, keep in mind the COVID-19 relief measures which allowed taxpayers to carry over their entire FSA balance are no longer in effect for 2022.
That being said, check the restrictions on your account to see what the money can and cannot be used for, and take care of any needs you may have as allowed by your plan.
Sick and Vacation Time
Depending on your company, your sick or vacation time might expire at the end of the year. Check with your HR department to learn about any expiration dates. If it does expire, fit in a last-minute staycation or take some time off to work on projects you’ve been putting off. If you need to make any trips to the doctor, schedule those appointments now to make use of paid-time-off benefits before you lose them.
5. Revisit Your Plans and Policies
Lastly, take another look at your estate plan and insurance coverage. If you took the time and energy to create an estate plan, check it periodically to ensure all the documents are up to date and no major details have changed.
Your insurance needs may also change as the year goes by, so periodically review your coverages and designated beneficiaries to bring them up to date to reflect your current financial situation. For example, if you paid off debt, you may not need as much life insurance coverage since your family’s liabilities have decreased. You might also want to evaluate your need for other types of insurance, such as long-term care or disability insurance.
Partner With a Professional
The Rosamond Financial Group can help you finish up 2022 and review your financial goals for 2023 to help you achieve financial success in the new year. Reach out to us today by calling my office at 830-798-9400 or email email@example.com. Or book a free introductory meeting online!
Preston Rosamond is a financial advisor and the founder of The Rosamond Financial Group Wealth Management, LLC with over two decades of industry experience. He provides comprehensive wealth management and financial services to successful business owners, corporate executives, and affluent retirees who enjoy simplicity and seek a professional to help them pursue their goals. Preston personally serves his clients with an individual touch, a sincere heart, and his servant’s attitude is evident from the moment you meet him. Learn more about Preston or start the conversation about your finances with him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a call on his online calendar.