ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

2023 Year-End Financial Checklist and Considerations

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Before we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of family events and holiday gatherings, let’s take a moment to consider some important end-of-year financial matters. As 2024 approaches, life tends to get busier, making it worthwhile to address these tasks now and clear some mental space.
In the ever-changing landscape of personal finance, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for securing a stable future, whether you’re actively working or enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

To assist you, I’ve compiled a comprehensive year-end financial checklist covering vital aspects of financial planning. Let’s delve into the checklist to ensure you’re on track for financial success.


Financial Checklist for Those Still in the Workforce

With open enrollment around the corner, it’s a great time to evaluate your job benefits and retirement savings strategy.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA):

If you’re enrolled in a high-deductible medical plan, seize the opportunity to maximize your Health Savings Account (HSA) contribution. Aim for the cap of $7,750 for families and $1,000 for individuals. For those aged 55 and older, an extra $1,000 contribution is permitted.

401(k) Contributions:

Your 401(k) is a cornerstone of your retirement savings. To make the most of this valuable resource, maximize your contributions, reaching the cap of $22,500 (excluding employer contributions). If you’re aged 50 or older, an additional $7,500 is allowed. Proactively managing your 401(k) ensures that you’re on track for a comfortable retirement.

SIMPLE IRAs:

For those utilizing SIMPLE IRAs, consider maximizing your contributions, which have a limit of $15,500 (excluding employer contributions). Individuals aged 50 and above can contribute an extra $3,500.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA):

If you have an FSA, use those remaining dollars before the year ends. In most cases, FSA dollars follow a “use it or lose it” rule. This means that any funds remaining in your FSA at the end of the plan year typically do not roll over and are forfeited.

Not sure the best strategies for your work benefits? Consider letting me help you review your employer benefit options for the upcoming year.


Financial Checklist for Those in Retirement

While the following checklist isn’t tailored to employment, individuals in the workforce can still benefit from these essential to-dos.

Property and Casualty Insurance Checkup:

With home prices rising, revisit your Property and Casualty (P&C) coverage. Ensure that your policy aligns with inflation, scrutinizing individual line-by-line limits and the full replacement maximum. Proactive adjustments now can save you from unforeseen challenges down the road, particularly if you’re in storm-prone areas like Florida.

Roth Conversions for Tax Efficiency:

Seize the opportunity presented by historically low tax rates through Roth conversions. Assess whether this strategy aligns with your current tax bracket and time horizon.

Monetary Gifts and Strategic Giving:

Take advantage of the annual gift exclusion by gifting up to $17,000 per person in 2023. For couples, this means a joint gift of $34,000. Leverage this allowance to support your loved ones financially.

Year-End Charitable Giving:

Contribute to causes close to your heart through cash, IRA Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), or stock. Explore avenues that align with your philanthropic goals, providing both benefits to recipients and potential tax advantages.

Donor-Advised Funds for Strategic Philanthropy:

If you find yourself uncertain about specific organizations, consider establishing or contributing to a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF). This innovative approach empowers you to invest funds strategically for future charitable donations, offering both flexibility and valuable tax deductions.

Estate Planning Review:

Regularly reassess the beneficiaries listed on your retirement accounts and insurance policies. Life is dynamic, requiring updates to your overall estate plan. Stay proactive in aligning your assets with current intentions and circumstances.


Let’s Ensure You’re Ready for 2024

In summary, here’s your year-end financial checklist:

    ❍ Maximize contributions to your Health Savings Accounts (HSA).

    ❍ Maximize your 401(k) Contributions.
    ❍ Maximize contributions to your SIMPLE IRAs.
    ❍ Use any remaining Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollars.
    ❍ Review and optimize your job benefits for the upcoming year.
    ❍ Conduct a comprehensive Property and Casualty Insurance Checkup.
    ❍ Explore the benefits of Roth Conversions for improved tax efficiency.
    ❍ Make the most of the annual gift exclusion for Monetary Gifts and Strategic Giving.
    ❍ Contribute to Year-End Charitable Giving through cash, RMDs, or stock.
    ❍ Consider the advantages of Donor-Advised Funds for flexible and tax-efficient philanthropy.
    ❍ Review the beneficiaries in your various estate planning documents.

This is by no means a comprehensive list and not all of them will pertain to you. If you’d like to delve into any of these tasks together, reach out today for a tailored strategic discussion.

Let’s ensure these financial matters are addressed, allowing you to wholeheartedly focus on welcoming the new year with friends and family. Your financial well-being is my priority.

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