Year-End Financial Checklist

December 3, 2019

As 2019 comes to an end, take a few minutes to put a bow on your financial life for the year by running through this quick checklist:

Maximize Employer Benefits:

  • Spend flex dollars – Many employers offer Flexible Spending Accounts for health expenses or dependent care. Often times, balances must be spent before year-end or they are forfeited. If you have money remaining, pay any outstanding medical bills or stock up on medical supplies for 2020. Not sure what qualifies? Here is a good resource: fsastore.com

Note: Some plans offer a “grace period” into the new year to use funds while others may allow you to carry over up to $500 per year – check with your employer on your specific plan

  • 401k and 403b Contribution Limits Change each year – if your intent is to max out the contribution, double-check to make sure that was done. If you receive a year-end bonus, consider deferring part of it to pump up your 401k savings for the year

Check your credit reports – It’s good practice to take advantage of receiving your free credit annually to ensure that your credit has not been affected by identity theft or other fraud. You can get your free report at www.annualcreditreport.com  

Save Taxes and Avoid Penalties by…

  • Selling Your Losers – While 2019 was a great year for the markets, you may still have a few losers. Any capital losses you realize before year-end can be used to offset your gains in 2019.
  • Take your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) – If you have an inherited IRA or are over 70.5 don’t forget to take your RMD. In the shuffle of the holidays this can be overlooked but doing so comes with a harsh 50% penalty.
  • Read Year-End Tax Planning – Strategies to Save for more year-end tax considerations.

Lay the Foundation for next year – the holidays are a great time to reflect and set new goals for the coming year. What do you want to accomplish to live your full life in 2020? Whether it be a family vacation, giving time or money to a cause you care about or helping your kids or grandkids…spend time to make a plan for accomplishing those goals in 2020.

Great work! – Sit back relax and give yourself kudos for all that you accomplished in 2019.

Neil Teubel, CFP®, MS is Director of Financial Planning and a Wealth Manager at BDF. Neil has a passion for Financial Planning and heads BDF’s Financial Planning Committee which strives to ensure every client benefits from proactive, best in class financial planning. Neil has been recognized by Chicago Magazine as a Five Star Wealth Manager and by Forbes as a top Next-Gen Wealth Advisor nationally. He received an undergraduate degree in Financial Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University, where he earned his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification.