As we near the end of 2023, we recommend that you take time to reflect on your financial goals and assess your progress. Have you met the goals you set at the beginning of the year? If not, what steps can you take now to catch up or better position yourself in 2024?
To help, we’ve included a few areas for consideration on where to focus your efforts as you wrap up the year:
- Retirement Account Considerations
- Employer-Sponsored Retirement Accounts: In 2023, you can contribute up to $22,500, or $30,000 if you’re over age 50, to a 401(k), 403(b), etc. Be sure that you are aware of your employer’s contribution matching, and at least contribute the appropriate amount to take full advantage of this. If you get a year-end bonus, you may be able to direct some of it into your workplace retirement plan. Consider adjusting your contributions to your employer account to prepare for retirement.
- Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): If you or your spouse have income and find you have excess dollars in savings, you may consider maximizing retirement account contributions to a personal IRA if you haven’t already done so. For 2023, the total annual contributions you make to all your IRAs (traditional and Roth combined) can’t be more than $6,500 ($7,500 if you’re age 50 or older), or the total of your taxable compensation if less than these amounts.
- Traditional IRA contributions may be tax-deductible. The deduction is limited if you are covered by a company-sponsored retirement plan at work and your income exceeds certain levels. A full deduction is allowed if you aren’t covered by a retirement plan at work or from making tax-deductible contributions to a traditional IRA (if you and/or your spouse are eligible for an employer’s plan).
- Roth IRA contributions are not tax-deductible as these contributions are made post-tax. Your income level may prevent you from contributing directly to a Roth IRA. If you are subject to these limitations or think you may be, talk to your advisor about a strategy often referred to as “Backdoor Roth IRA.”
- Roth Conversion: If 2023 is a low-income tax year for you, you may want to consider initiating a Roth IRA conversion which allows you to convert all or a portion of your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. The benefit of a Roth conversion is you do not pay any tax when you withdraw from the account, so you avoid tax on the investment growth. However, the amount you choose to convert will be taxed as ordinary income in the year of conversion so reach out to your advisor to see if this is a feasible option for you before December 15th.
- Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are mandatory if you’re the owner of a tax-advantaged retirement account once you reach a certain age. You generally must start taking withdrawals from your traditional IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, and most employer-sponsored retirement plan accounts when you reach age 72 (73 if you reach age 72 after Dec. 31, 2022).
- Tax Planning Considerations
If you haven’t already done so, send us a copy of your 2022 income tax return so that we can help point out any potential planning opportunities for 2023 and beyond.
- Tax deductions are expenses that reduce your taxable income. Some common tax deductions for individuals are mortgage interest, charitable donations, medical expenses, and state and local taxes. You can either itemize your deductions or take the standard deduction, which is $13,850 for single filers and $27,700 for joint filers in 2023.
- Charitable giving provides tax benefits that align with your personal philanthropic goals. If you are charitably inclined, you may want to consider making charitable donations before year-end to reduce your tax liability. We encourage donations to be made no later than December 15th and be sure to request a tax receipt from the nonprofit. Remember, it’s best to consult a tax professional for personalized advice.
- Itemized deductions can be utilized to deduct charitable donations made to IRS 501(c)3 qualified organizations. Donors who itemize rather than take the standard deduction typically do so because the total of their itemized deductions exceeds their standard deduction amount. Bear in mind that charitable contributions do not have to be in cash.
- Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) are a solid gifting option if you are over the age of 70 ½ and subject to RMDs. A qualified charitable distribution (QCD) is a tax-free donation from your individual retirement account (IRA) to a qualified charity. A qualified charitable distribution is not included in your taxable income but does count toward the IRA owner’s required minimum distribution (RMD) for the year. The annual QCD limit is $100,000 to charity tax-free each year.
- A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a way to donate to your favorite charities while maximizing your tax savings through a specified investment account. You can put cash, stocks, or other assets into a DAF and generally get an immediate tax deduction for the full amount. This is especially useful if you have highly appreciated assets or a large income in a certain year. You can invest the DAF assets for tax-free growth and initiate grants to any IRS-qualified charity over time.
- Tax Loss Harvesting is a strategy to reduce capital gains taxes by selling investments that have lost value. This can lower the tax bill for both post-tax and taxable accounts if the sold assets are replaced with similar ones to maintain the portfolio balance. Your Waverly Team is actively looking for tax loss harvesting opportunities in our managed portfolios, but if you have an outside portfolio then you may want to consider taking advantage of any losses before year-end.
- Open Enrollment Considerations
Whether you’re retired or still actively working, for most, year-end planning includes looking at open enrollment options.
- Retirees, who are Medicare-eligible, should be actively reviewing their 2024 Medicare options to ensure proper coverage in the new year. Be sure to review our latest Medicare Open Enrollment article for additional information.
- For those still actively working, we often find that workplace benefits enrollment occurs at year-end in preparation for the next calendar year. We recommend that you refamiliarize yourself with your employer’s benefits offerings to ensure you’re maximizing what’s available.
Remember, staying financially healthy is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring and frequent adjustments. Our Advisors and Financial Planners at Waverly Advisors are experienced in navigating year-end planning needs so if you’d like more information regarding any of the topics discussed, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Disclosure: Past performance may not be indicative of future results. The opinions expressed in this commentary reflect information available at the time it was written and should be used as a reference only. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, economic conditions, and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this commentary serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Waverly. If you have any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to your individual situation, you are encouraged to consult with your Waverly adviser or the professional advisor of your choosing. A copy of Waverly’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or by visiting https://waverly-advisors.com/ADV-Part-2A-Brochure. Please see additional important disclosures on the last page of this report.