By Philip Lee, CFP®
Julia, our daughter, started classes this week at Champlain College. Wow, does time fly by so I'm re-sharing my post -- these critical documents for the college bound is truly top of mind. She is 18-years old "on her own" as a freshman and these are critical documents to have "just in case". Some of these documents apply to non-students too!
By Philip Lee, CFP®
Are you a Massachusetts resident and saving towards college via a 529 Plan?
By Philip Lee, CFP®
Last week Kristen and Julia, our rising high-school senior, visited McGill University in Montreal, Canada. By all accounts it was a hugely successful trip. Julia is thrilled at the prospect of furthering her education and expanding her horizons. She will be 18-years old soon and "on her own" as a freshman, hopefully, at a college of her choice.
Students may be worried about making new friends, studying, and adjusting to college life. Parents or guardians may share these concerns too, but they should not neglect legal and financial matters. Our 18 year-olds are now adults who can enter into contracts, make their own health care decisions, and are afforded levels of privacy to which we may not be accustomed. Who will make medical decisions on behalf of your child if he or she is unable to do so? What will you do if you need to get medical information in a time of an emergency? Will you be able to have access or make decisions on financial/tuition matters with the bursar’s office? Is it important to have access to your child’s academic record? Consider these items allowing parents/guardians to assist their adult children before they leave for college:
by Philip Lee, CFP®
As the summer wind-down begins it is time to start thinking about upcoming financial planning deadlines:
Sept. 15: Deadline for your Third quarterly estimated tax payment due
Oct. 1: FAFSA Submission Time-window Begins
If you (your child) plans to attend college from July 1, 2016 - June 2017 you can submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form starting October 1st. This is a significant change from the past. More info.
Oct. 15: Medicare Open Enrollment Begins
Open enrollment begins for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and all-inclusive Medicare Advantage plans, and ends Dec. 7. Plans can change their list of covered drugs and prices from year to year, so retirees should review their coverage and shop for best-priced plans. More info.
Oct. 17: 6-month Tax Return Extension Deadline & Deadline to Undo 2015 Roth Conversions
If you filed for a six-month extension, your 2015 income tax return is due Oct. 17 — two days later than usual because the usual Oct. 15 deadline falls on a Saturday. It is also your last chance to undo a 2015 Roth Conversion.
If you converted a traditional IRA to a Roth during 2015 and paid tax on the conversion with your 2015 return, Oct. 17, 2016 is the deadline for recharacterizing the conversion. Recharacterization could save you money if your IRA has lost money since the time of the original conversion. I'm not expecting this to be the case as the equity markets have been strong this year.
Dec. 31: Year-end deadline for tax planning
Critical deadline to:
Convert your IRA (or a portion of) to a Roth IRA.
Establish a solo 401(k) account for self-employed individuals wanting to defer income for the 2016 tax year. You can fund the solo 401(k) later.
Take annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) from retirement plans and inherited IRAs. For those of you age 70 ½ or older with IRAs and charitable intent, the Qualified Charitable Distribution ("QCD") provision, permits transfers up to $100,000 from their IRA directly to a qualified charity and have it count as their required minimum distribution without increasing their adjusted gross income. Before you contribute to your charity be sure to evaluate your own cash flow needs and estate planning goals. • Make charitable donations that qualify for a tax deduction if you itemize -- yes, you can gift cash but consider gifting your highly appreciated securities.
Sell poor performing securities in your taxable portfolio to offset other gains.
This article first appeared on Philip's LinkedIn page