As we approach the new year, it is a good idea to examine and review a financial health checklist and make changes as necessary. Here is a list of some of the items the CIG Capital Advisors Wealth Management team recommends you review as part of your resolution for better financial health in the new year and to help establish good personal finance habits in the years to come:
- Review and update beneficiaries. Confirm who is designated as your beneficiaries on your retirement accounts. For many people, naming beneficiaries happens one time, when they set up the account or policy. However, life changes (birth, marriage, divorce, death) are inevitable, and when these changes occur, you, or your family, may find that the designated beneficiary on your retirement account is not who you think it should be now.When it comes to planning for wealth transfers, it’s extremely important to review your beneficiaries periodically, especially if you have had children, divorced, or remarried since you first established your retirement account. This also applies if you had previously named a charity or trust as your beneficiary upon account setup and that organization no longer exists.
- Review and/or prepare for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) If you’re 70½ or older, you’re required by the IRS to take RMDs from certain retirement accounts by December 31—or face a penalty equal to 50% of the sum you failed to withdraw. If you turned 70½ this year, you have until April 1, 2020, to take your first RMD, albeit with potential consequences. Additionally, if you will be turning 70½ soon, now is the time to review your distribution strategy.
- Retirement Plan Contribution Increase. The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan, is increased from $19,000 to $19,500 for tax year 2020. Consider reviewing and changing your contribution limits if appropriate.
- Review Living Wills and Trusts. Most often people wait to do their estate planning and draft a Will until they absolutely have to, which is often after they have children, get married, buy a house, start a significant business or have a spouse or family member convince them of its importance. If nothing sudden or significant has happened such as the birth of a child, divorce, marriage, death of a family member, change in jobs, or change in your balance sheet or assets, then a good benchmark for reviewing your estate plan is once every five years. Otherwise, it’s a healthy habit to do a general review once a year.
- Revisit Tax Withholding. Changes in dependents, income and marital status can all affect your tax bill. Use the IRS’s withholding calculator to ensure you’re withholding enough—but not too much.
- Check your credit reports. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, each of the national credit-reporting agencies is required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, upon request, once every 12 months. Get yours at annualcreditreport.com.
- Review your insurance needs. Make sure your loved ones and the things you’ve worked so hard for are protected. Ensure that there are no gaps in your home, auto, business insurance coverage.
Resolve to get take care of your financial health in the new year. To get assistance with a complete, holistic review of your financial plan, contact a CIG Capital Advisor to schedule a brief introductory call today.