The end of 2021 is quickly approaching. Before your calendar is filled with holiday parties and finding the perfect gift for your next White Elephant gift exchange, here are some items you might consider before saying goodbye to 2021:
What has changed for you in 2021?
Did you start a new job? Did you get married? Did you retire? If notable changes occurred in your personal or professional life, then you may want to review your finances before this year ends to put your future self in a better position in 2022.
Do you engage in tax-loss harvesting?
Tax-loss harvesting is the process of selling securities in your taxable brokerage account at a loss and using the proceeds to purchase similar securities that are in line with your overall investment plan. Realizing these losses allows you to offset capital gains and up to $3k income annually on your tax returns. Any losses you don’t use this year can be carried forward to future years. You might want to consider this move depending on your financial situation, but it should be made with the guidance of a financial professional.1
Do you want to itemize deductions?
You may just want to take the standard deduction for the 2021 tax year, which has risen to $12,550 for single filers and $25,100 for joint. If you do think it might be better for you to itemize, now would be a good time to get the receipts and assorted paperwork together.2,3
Are you thinking of gifting?
How about donating to a qualified charity or non-profit organization before 2021 ends? Are you making your donations through a Donor-Advised Fund or Qualified Charitable Distribution? Your gift may qualify as a tax deduction. For some gifts, you may be required to itemize deductions using Schedule A.4
Have you designated beneficiaries on your retirement accounts?
Estate planning is one of the most overlooked and procrastinated upon areas of financial planning. But when thinking about receiving an inheritance, advanced planning can provide smoother and more beneficial transitions. If you haven’t reviewed your beneficiary designations for some time, double-check to see that these assets are structured to go where you want them to go. Also, review your will to make sure it’s up to date.
Check on the amount of federal and state income taxes you have withheld.
If you discover that you have withheld too little on your W-4 form so far, you may need to adjust your withholding before the year ends.
Set your priorities for 2022.
When you write down your goals for the year, be specific and make them measurable. Whether it is to pay off credit card debt, increase your savings rate by 5%, or fine-tune some bad spending habits you’ve picked up, concrete goals are easier to start working towards than vague, blanket ideas.
This is a brief checklist of the big picture items to keep your financial plan on track. The happiest season of all is also a great time to explore more detailed tax and health care planning for the year ahead. Contact us to speak with a financial or tax professional to see if there are any year-end moves that might help you improve your short-term and long-term financial situation.
A portion of this material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc.
Investopedia.com, January 8, 2021
NerdWallet.com, April 12, 2021
Investopedia.com, August 23, 2021
Investopedia.com, December 28, 2020