This is the time of year when many may be spending time with family and/or friends while enjoying the holiday season. It's also the time when people typically make New Year resolutions – often centered around physical health or financial health.
These are some Frequently Asked Questions I get for those thinking about their finances. Of course there is more to financial planning and investment advisory services than these limits:
Q: What is the max I can contribute to my 401(k), 403(b), 457 plan in 2017?
A: There is no change in 2017. The elective deferral amount remains constant at $18,000 and if you are 50 years old or older you can defer an additional $6,000 for a total of $24,000
By Philip Lee, CFP®
Are you a Massachusetts resident and saving towards college via a 529 Plan?
Whew…... so, this current election cycle is over and soon there will be a new administration. In the past two weeks, I find clients who are overwhelmed with the election, the barrage of 24-hours news on social media and the radio, and have a multitude of questions or concerns about what may or may not happen with the markets. Might inflation start to flare? How many my taxes change? Will volatility increase?
While I cannot predict the future, I do encourage clients to focus on those things they can control, be it ensuring getting sufficient sleep, spending time with friends and family, or proactively making positive financial decisions. We didn’t see any major tax changes in 2016 which is common in an election year.
So with this in mind, here’s a reminder for year-end planning:
- Breathe, relax, be thankful. Repeat
- 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.
By Philip Lee, CFP®
There are a myriad of strategies for cutting your tax bill leading up to and during retirement.
Philip is quoted on Roth IRA Re-characterization deadlines, maxing out on retirement plans, as well as the need to establish solo 401(k) plans by December 31, 2016.
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