Between the demands of a full-time job, a family, and charitable or recreational activities, your personal finances may take a back seat to the more pressing demands on your time. Fortunately, Long Term Living Association (LTLA) is here to help you with all your financial needs associated with retirement, and below is a checklist of the seven aspects of your financial life to review on a yearly basis.
Each year, you’ll want to ensure your investments are still in balance with your target asset allocation — and if it’s been several years (or you’ve undergone several life changes) since you evaluated your target asset allocation, you may want to re-evaluate this target itself to ensure you’re not invested too aggressively (or conservatively) for your updated needs.
Because certain investment sectors can rise (or fall) more quickly than others, you may find that your asset allocation naturally skews over time. Giving your investments an annual checkup can ensure you’re not caught unaware when a bull market turns bear.
Take a look at your overall retirement strategy. Does it (still) make sense? If applicable, take your RMD (required minimum distribution) from your traditional IRA. Take a look at and/or max out contributions to IRAs, 401(k)s. Consider maxing out catch-up contributions, if applicable. Finally, consider Roth IRA conversion scenarios.
Both the federal and state tax codes can change each year, so it’s important to ensure you’re taking advantage of any new deductions or credits available.
Search for possible credits and/or deductions before the year comes to a close. Have a qualified tax professional put together a year-end projection, including Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Review appreciated property sales and both realized and unrealized losses and gains. Take a look back at last year’s loss carry-forwards. If you’ve sold securities, gather cost-basis information. Look for any transactions that could potentially enhance your circumstances.
4. Gifts & Contributions
Staying organized when it comes to gifts and charitable contributions (including church tithes) is key to managing your budget.
Tracking charitable contributions on a regular basis will also make tax time much easier if you itemize your deductions. Plan charitable contributions or contributions to education accounts, and make any desired cash gifts to family members. Review and fund trusts, as applicable.
Are your policies and beneficiaries up to date? Review costs, beneficiaries, and any and all life changes that may affect your insurance needs. There are six major insurances that we all have (or should have): Health Insurance/Medicare Supplement, Life Insurance, Disability Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance, Automobile Insurance, and Homeowners/Fire Insurance. Make sure to review these every year.
6. Personal Changes
This year, did you…
… get married or divorced?
… move or change jobs?
… buy a home or business?
… have (or adopt) a child?
… receive an inheritance or gift?
… see a severe illness or ailment affect a family member?
… lose a family member?
… discover that your parent(s) would need assisted living?
7. Birthday Milestones
While you may have stopped looking forward to milestone birthdays once they began making black balloons emblazoned with your age, there are a few important birthdays that can have an impact on your retirement options.
- When you turn 50, you qualify for “catch-up” contributions to your IRA
- When you turn 55 you may take distributions from your 401(k) account without penalty.
- When you turn 59½, you’ll be able to take penalty-free IRA and 401(k) withdrawals
- When you turn 62, you’ll qualify for early Social Security benefits (and can take full benefits at age 67)
- When you turn 65, you’ll qualify for Medicare
- When you turn 70½ you must take the Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your IRA(s).
If one or more of these milestones is approaching for you, give us a call at 1-800-868-1193 or visit our website to gain a financial partner throughout retirement.
Our Retirement Income and Long Term Care Insurance Specialist