Year-end tips for financial housekeeping

As we enter the end of the year, there are many things on people’s minds. Sure, there are the upcoming holidays, but there are many financial decisions that must be addressed. I’ve put together just a few for you to consider:   

  1. Make sure your tax payments are done.
 Believe it or not, if you have to pay estimated income tax, many communities will penalize you if it’s not paid by Dec. 31.

  2. Review your wills, trusts, and beneficiaries on accounts
. You want your money going to the people or organizations you choose, right? This is especially important if you have children under the age of 18, because you want to make sure money and belongings you leave for them isn’t caught up in the courts. In a trust or will, you can also make sure the money is spent the way you want it spent and when you want it spent. 

  3. Make sure to take Required Minimum Distribution. 
If you are 70½ or older, you’re required by the IRS to take distributions from your traditional IRA, 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans. Work with your financial advisor, or find one, to find out how much you need to take before the year-end and what effect it will have on your taxes. If you turn 70½ this year, you do have a one-time exemption to be able to take it by April 15. Just remember, in that scenario, you will pay tax the following year. You should always take this into account, so that you don’t get a surprise when you file your taxes.

  4. Tax Harvest. 
You can claim up to $3,000 in investment losses, within your non-retirement accounts, each year to help maximize tax advantages. This can also help offset any gains you may have on other holdings. Talk to your financial advisor to review this.

  5. Consider an IRA or Roth IRA
. This isn’t just a year-end tip. You really have until April 15 to make contributions to either of these accounts for 2016. Traditional IRAs give you the tax benefit now in reducing your taxable income, Roth IRAs give you the tax benefit later by paying the tax now, with tax-free distributions once you reach eligibility requirements.

While I included a few tips that I feel are at the top of mind for most, work with your financial advisor, or get a referral from someone you trust (i.e. friend, accountant, etc.) to discuss what other things may be of concern to you.

The opinions expressed are those of the writer, but not necessarily those of Raymond James and Associates, and subject to change at any time. Material is provided for informational purposes only. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of Raymond James & Associates we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters.

Michael Bentley, Vice President, Investments of Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC 159 Crocker Park Blvd, Suite 390, Westlake, OH 44145. He may be reached at 440-801-1629 or

Michael Bentley

Mike Bentley is Vice President, Investments at Bentley Wealth Management of Raymond James.

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Volume 8, Issue 21, Posted 10:09 AM, 11.01.2016