Top-Off Retirement Savings
If you have a goal to max out your contributions to an employer retirement plan, double check and make sure you will hit the limit. Good news for maximizers; limits are set to go up by $500 next year for 401(k) plan participants.
Give the Gift of Education
December is a great time to add to or start a college savings account for a child/grandchild. The maximum gift for each recipient is capped at $15k ($30k for a married couple) annually unless you want to do some extra tax planning.
Meet Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)
If you are 70 ½ or older, you will need to take RMDs from most retirement accounts by December 31st or face a stiff IRS penalty (50% of the amount not distributed). If you turned 70 ½ this year, you will have until April 1, 2019 to take your first RMD, noting another would be needed by December 31, 2019.
Spread Some Holiday Cheer
Consider making charitable gifts or gifts to loved ones. If you have investments with unrealized capital gains or some room left to meet your RMD, these (along with their tax burdens) can be passed onto most charities who don’t pay taxes.
It’s likely that with some holiday spending you may have tapped into reserve accounts. Try to backfill as much as possible to get yourself on track heading into the new year.
Reflect and Celebrate
Consider giving you / your family a financial “grade” for the year. Identify where you can improve, but more importantly celebrate all the successes you’ve had over a long-year. Maybe even splurge a little if your plan allows for it!
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