Stay on Top of Your Finances With These Simple Tips
With fall comes cooler temperatures, beautiful leaves, football and pumpkin-spice everything. Fall also brings with it a great opportunity to get your financial house in order. During this period after summer vacations and before the craziness of the holiday season, take some time to make the following financial moves.
#1 – Access your credit report.
Now’s a great time to check in on your credit. Each of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) allows consumers to access one free report each year. Double check these reports to make sure there are no unexpected errors.
#2 – Contribute to your health savings account (HSA).
If you participate in a high-deductible health insurance plan, you may be eligible to contribute up to $3,650 per individual or $7,300 as a family to an HSA in 2022. This can be a tax-efficient way to save for future medical expenses. If you haven’t already contributed during the year, now’s the time to start.
#3 – Reevaluate your employer-sponsored benefits.
Many companies offer an open enrollment period in the fall so that employees can make any necessary changes to their benefits before year-end. Take time to review your options to make sure they continue to meet your needs. Consider whether the health, disability and life insurance provided by your employer is adequate based on any recent changes to your financial situation. Make note of your employer’s open enrollment dates so that you don’t miss the window.
#4 – Check in on your retirement plan.
Are you on track to contribute enough to your employer-sponsored retirement plan during the year to receive the maximum employer match? If not, now be the time to increase your contributions. Even if you’re already eligible for the full employer match, you may want to consider upping your contributions by 1% to 2%. You’ll be unlikely to feel the impact on your take-home pay, yet these small increases can have a big impact on your retirement savings over time.
#5 – Finalize your charitable donations.
Don’t wait until the end of the year to donate to the causes that matter most to you. Fall is a great time to finalize your charitable contributions. Consider maximizing your impact by donating low-cost-basis stock. Not only can you receive a tax deduction on the full value but both you and the charity can avoid paying taxes on any capital gains (for investments that have been held for at least 12 months).
#6 – Harvest losses.
Tax-loss harvesting is a strategy by which an investor sells assets that have declined in value in the short term (a common occurrence in a heavily weighted equity portfolio) and replaces them with highly correlated alternatives. If done correctly, the risk profile and expected return of the portfolio remains unchanged, but temporary tax losses are extracted in the transaction. By realizing the investment loss, a tax deduction is generated that can lower your taxes. These tax savings can then be reinvested to further grow the value of your portfolio.
At Creative Planning, we take advantage of market volatility by actively tax harvesting client portfolios throughout the year, but now is a good time to check in with your wealth manager about any additional tax-loss harvesting opportunities.
Would you like help reevaluating your finances? Creative Planning is here for you. Our experienced professionals work to ensure every aspect of your financial life is well cared for and helping you achieve your long-term goals. Schedule a call to learn more.