Party Planning - Year End Checklist

by Matt Ahrens

Before you start planning that year end party, we have another checklist for you.  These require very little work but hopefully can give you peace of mind that your financial world is in order. 

Health Insurance.  If you get your health insurance through your job, then your employer is likely on top of this with reminders and educational material.  If you buy your health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges, then you should know that 2016 Open Enrollment period is here.  Enrollment started November 1st and if you want to be enrolled in new coverage by January 1st then you need to sign up by December 15th.  The final deadline for the open enrollment period is January 31st.  If you have questions regarding your various options (including private insurance), we can direct you to a health insurance professional that we routinely refer to our clients.  This individual can help you assess your goals and risks and assist you in finding the most appropriate coverage for you.  Contact the office today if you would like more information.

Homeowners & Car Insurance.  No one enjoys thinking about their homeowners and car insurance, but it needs to be reviewed like everything else and often it can be a source of additional savings.  Our clients work with a variety of providers including captive insurance agents and insurance brokers.  Everyone knows bundling is a great way to save on insurance, but we highly encourage our clients to shop their insurance with up to three providers to make sure they’re getting a good deal.  One of the best ways to do this is to use an insurance broker who can shop your rates and coverage among several insurance companies at once.  Contact our office if you would like to learn more and we can refer you to an insurance broker our clients have used.

Emergency Fund.  During the Christmas season, more money flows out than flows in, so we want to take this opportunity to remind you to re-evaluate your emergency fund.  If you are in a highly volatile industry or occupation (like sales where turnover can happen any moment) then we suggest having 12 months of expenses tucked away.  If you are in a more stable situation then we suggest having six months of expenses tucked away.  Many online savings accounts are offering 1% annual interest.  If you have more than six months in your emergency fund, you may consider purchasing CDs or other short-term, interest bearing investment vehicles to maximize your return.

401(k) Rebalancing.  Have you checked your 401(k) lately?  After years of healthy equity returns it may be time to rebalance your existing 401(k) assets.  We often suggest that clients split their risk in their 401(k).  If you have been on the receiving end of nice gains or are nearing retirement, then consider becoming more conservative with your current balance while taking on more risk with new money contributions.  Because new money contributions are utilizing dollar cost averaging then you can typically afford to take more risk in this area.  Please let us know if you need help or suggestions.

Taxes.  Just typing the word “taxes” brings back memories of below-freezing temperatures and swirling ice and snow.  Brrrr.  Word association aside, it is important to consider actions you can take before 2015 closes shop: 

  • Maximize your retirement plan contributions 
  • Build up your child’s 529 plan 
  • Add money to your IRA

 

If you have questions about ways to minimize tax bite, please contact our office.  We can work in coordination with your CPA or suggest a CPA that can help guide you in these decisions. 

Estate Planning.  Every article that lists common estate planning mistakes seems to include the mistake of not updating your beneficiaries.  Have some of your beneficiaries changed since you set up your investment accounts?  I worked in customer service for an insurance company after I graduated from college and the number of insurance benefits that were paid to someone’s ex-spouse or mother instead of their surviving spouse were staggering.  Don’t let this happen to your family.  Be sure to regularly check your beneficiaries and update them accordingly!

Happy Thanksgiving

In honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday, Integrity Advisory will be closed on Thursday, November 26th and Friday, November 27th.  Normal business hours will resume Monday, November 30th.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with you.  May you enjoy a plentiful feast of good food, family and friends.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Quotes

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare.  They are consumed in twelve minutes.  Half-times take twelve minutes.  This is not coincidence."

                   Emma Bombeck

"There is one day that is ours.  Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American."

                   O. Henry

Quotes selected by the IAG Staff

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

                   Oprah Winfrey

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”

                   W.T. Purkiser

 

Tony Moeller, CPA

The information listed in this commentary is a compilation of various publicly available sources and is for informational purposes only. It is not a recommendation or solicitation of any particular investment or strategy. A risk of loss is involved with investments in the stock and bond markets.

If you enjoy the commentary and believe others may benefit or find it of interest, please feel free to forward it on. Also, interested individuals can contact us, and we will be happy to add them to our mailing list. 

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