Tackle Year-End Deadlines and Look Ahead to 2018

With happy holidays come distracting deadlines. Our gift to you: wrapping them up in this year-end guide. Now’s the time to talk to your advisor about taking advantage of tax-deferred growth opportunities, tax-advantaged investments and charitable-giving opportunities, among other strategies. And before the ball drops in Times Square, set your financial goals for 2018.

Fall 2017 Market Closures
Thursday, November 23: Thanksgiving Day
Monday, December 25: Christmas Day

Planning To-Do’s

Discuss year-end planning: Ask your advisor to coordinate with your tax advisor and attorney to address year-end financial and tax planning.

Adjust your coverage: Prepare your documents for Medicare open enrollment, if eligible.

Check cost of living: The Social Security Administration typically announces next year’s cost-of-living adjustment in October. Keep an eye out for this important information.

Consider retirement: New retirement plan contribution limits come from the IRS. Plan to adjust contributions appropriately.

Review your portfolio: Many mutual funds make taxable distributions toward the end of the year. You may want to consider balancing your realized capital gains with losses where appropriate. If invested in mutual funds, don’t forget about important capital gains distributions dates that typically fall in mid-December.

Heed donation deadlines: Remember year-end gift and charitable contributions deadlines. Be sure to allow enough time to complete donations, and keep tax limitations in mind if you plan to give tax-exempt gifts to relatives or friends this year.

Plan to harvest tax losses: Review and implement year-end tax planning decisions for the upcoming tax season. Consider rebalancing at the same time for tax efficiency.

Keep calm and consult on: You’re likely to pick up investment tips around the holiday party punchbowl. No matter the source, take the cautious path: Consult your advisor before acting.

Set financial goals for 2018: Reassess retirement savings and work with your advisor to make adjustments, if needed.

From "Amy & Dan Smith's Planning for Life" column appearing monthly in the Blue Ridge Leader, Loudoun County, VA.

The foregoing article contains general legal information only and is not intended to convey legal advice.  For legal advice regarding estate planning, the reader should contact his/her lawyer.

Daniel D. Smith is a partner in the law firm of Smith & Pugh, PLC, 161 Fort Evans Road, NE, Suite 345, Leesburg, VA 20176. (Tel: 703-777-6084, www.smithpugh.com). He has practiced law in Loudoun County since 1980.