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Year-End Financial Planning: 6 Strategies for Pre-Retirees, Business Owners, and Affluent Investors

December 13, 2023

As the year draws to a close, it's an opportune time for pre-retirees, business owners, and affluent investors to review their financial plans and make adjustments where necessary. Year-end planning is critical in ensuring your financial strategy aligns with both your short-term needs and long-term goals. We guide our clients through this process at IM Wealth Partners, focusing on several key areas.

1. Investment Portfolio Review


Rebalancing for Risk Management
Market dynamics can shift your asset allocation away from its target. Year-end may be an ideal time to rebalance your portfolio. This practice can help you maintain your desired risk level and investment strategy. According to a Vanguard study, rebalancing can potentially increase returns by 0.35% per year compared to portfolios that are not rebalanced regularly.

Harvesting Tax Losses
Tax-loss harvesting involves selling investments at a loss to offset capital gains tax liability. It's a valuable strategy for reducing your tax bill, especially in volatile markets. However, it's essential to be mindful of the IRS’s wash-sale rule to avoid disallowed losses.

2. Retirement Planning

Maximizing Contributions
For pre-retirees, maximizing contributions to retirement accounts is an important strategy. The IRS sets annual limits for 401(k)s and IRAs, and making the most of these limits can significantly impact your retirement savings. For 2023, the 401(k) contribution limit is $22,500, with an additional catch-up contribution of $7,500 for those aged 50 and older.

Roth Conversions
Consider converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Roth IRAs offer tax-free growth and withdrawals, which can be beneficial in the long run. However, remember that converting to a Roth IRA involves paying taxes now on the converted amount.

3. Tax Planning

Charitable Contributions
Charitable giving can provide tax benefits. Itemizing deductions to include philanthropic donations can lower your taxable income. However, the $300 universal charitable donation tax deduction under the CARES Act expired at the end of 2021 and is inactive for 2023 or 2024. For those who itemize, the maximum philanthropic donation deduction is now 60% of adjusted gross income, down from 100%.

Gifting Strategies
The annual gift tax exclusion for 2023 is $16,000 per recipient. Gifting can be an effective way to reduce your taxable estate while helping your loved ones financially.

4. Estate Planning

Updating Estate Documents
Year-end is a good time to review and update your wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents. Changes in family circumstances or tax laws can necessitate updates.

Review Beneficiaries
Ensure that your retirement accounts and insurance policies have the correct beneficiaries. Beneficiary designations supersede wills, so they must be up to date.

5. Business Owners

Cash Flow and Budgeting
Reviewing the year’s cash flow and adjusting the upcoming year’s budget is crucial for business sustainability. As per a U.S. Bank study, 82% of business failures are due to poor cash management.

Succession Planning
For family-owned businesses, it's vital to have a clear succession plan. This ensures a smooth transition and continuity of the business.

6. Real Estate and Insurance Review

Property Valuation
The end of the year is an excellent time to reassess your real estate holdings. Changes in property values can impact your net worth and estate planning.

Insurance Policies
Reviewing your insurance coverage ensures that you are adequately protected. As your financial situation changes, so should your insurance needs.

Conclusion

Year-end planning is a comprehensive process that touches various aspects of your financial life. By focusing on these areas, you can position yourself well for the coming year and beyond.

At IM Wealth Partners, we understand the unique financial needs of pre-retirees, business owners, and affluent investors. Our team of experts is dedicated to providing personalized advice and strategies tailored to your individual goals.

As the year ends, we invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation. Together, we can review your financial plan and make the necessary adjustments to ensure you are on track to meet your financial goals. Contact us today to set up your appointment.