The holidays are often a distraction for families, but many financial advisors are warning consumers not to overlook their finances as doing so before year’s end could cost you. Jeff Motske, president and CEO of the $2 billion Trilogy Financial Services, says that some planning is crucial to reduce your tax liability and strengthen your finances.
“The hustle and bustle of the holidays often distract people from making significant end-of-the-year financial decisions that they may come to regret,” said Motske.
Among the most important considerations:
· CONSIDER TAX LOSS HARVESTING -- It's a technique used to lower taxes while maintaining the expected risk and return profile in a portfolio. Talk to your financial advisor to see if this is a sound strategy for you.
· SPEND FLEX ACCOUNTS – Some people have flexible spending accounts or other tax-advantage workplace health benefit plans. If you don’t exhaust those funds, you stand the chance of losing some of the benefits. Good news is that the rules have loosened this year where employers must offer their workers the option of either a 2 ½ month grace period or to roll over $500 of the account into the next year. So, depending on how much is in your account, now may be the time to buy that new pair of glasses or get your teeth cleaned.
· MAKE HEALTH INSURANCE DECISIONS -- Speak with your financial advisor/insurance agent about making choices in your employer's open enrollment plan or determining which individual plan is right for you and your family.
· FULLY FUND YOUR RETIREMENT PLAN – You will not pay taxes on the money you contribute to your 401K, 403B, and other qualified plans. Doing so also will help build your retirement fund.
· PAY PROPERTY TAXES EARLY – If you can afford to do so, pay part of your 2014 property taxes on your 2013 return. The tax benefit, however, is not available to those paying the Alternative Minimum Tax.
· DONATE TO CHARITY – If you have anything significant lying around the house (e.g., furnishings, appliances, clothes, etc) that you are not using, make the donation to a nonprofit before the end of year and ask for a receipt detailing the items donated. Also, it’s a good time for those in a sound financial position to consider donating cash or appreciated assets like stocks to their favorite nonprofit to enjoy the tax write-off.
· BUY BUSINESS EQUIPMENT – If using cell phones, computers, office furnishings, etc. are integral to your business, you may consider making such new purchases before year’s end to enjoy the tax benefit.
Since 1999, Trilogy Financial Services has helped clients including individuals, families and businesses achieve their financial goals by creating personalized and comprehensive wealth strategies. Trilogy utilizes its team of financial advisors as well as CPAs and attorneys to ensure that clients’ best interests are being maintained. With more than $2 billion in assets, the company maintains 11 offices in 4 states with 200 top-tier employees (not independent contractors) dedicated to helping clients achieve financial independence. For more information visit www.trilogyfs.com.
Securities and advisory services offered through National Planning Corporation. (NPC) Member FINRA, SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Trilogy Financial Services and NPC are separate and unrelated entities.