Category Archives: Insurance

2012: The Beginning of the End

It is October, fourth quarter, the beginning of the end of the year. Are you ready?

Here is what you should consider:

Investments

  • Clarify your investment goals and expectations
  • Revisit income and savings objectives
  • Review asset allocation

Taxes

  • Review sales of appreciated property including real estate, a business, or artwork
  • Collect cost-basis information on securities sold
  • Tax harvesting: maximize tax advantages by reviewing realized and unrealized gains and losses
  • Plan charitable contributions
  • Check loss carry-forwards from 2011
  • Identify transactions that could improve your tax position
  • Maximize income in 2012; unless Congress acts tax rates may be significantly higher in 2013
  • Project year-end tax refund or payments due
  • Claim potential tax deductions or credits before year-end

Retirement

  • Analyze potential Roth IRA conversion scenarios
  • Maximize IRA / 401(k) contributions including catch-up provisions
  • Explore self-employed retirement plan options
  • Take required minimum distributions from IRA's
  • Plan overall retirement income strategy

Insurance

  • Identify material changes in life, business, or financial circumstances that might require adjustments in coverage
  • Shop life insurance, health insurance, and property & casualty coverage to see if current plans are cost competitive

Health

  • Maximize contributions to Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • Review medical insurance deductible. If not met, consider postponing non-essential medical care until 2013. If met, consider the opposite
  • Spend remaining amounts in Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
  • Take advantage of the Medicare Supplement open enrollment period

Milestone Ages

  • Age 50: Now you can make catch-up contributions to IRA's and some qualified retirement plans
  • Age 55: If retired, you may be able to take distributions from 401(k) plans without penalty
  • Age 59 ½: You can take distributions from retirement plans without penalty
  • Ages 62 – 70: You can apply for Social Security benefits
  • Age 65: You can apply for Medicare
  • Age 70 ½: You must begin taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMD's) from IRA's

Family

  • Consider contributions to education accounts
  • Reduce estate value by making tax-free gifts to family members
  • Review and fund trusts

Significant Changes

  • Did you move?
  • Did you transfer any financial assets?
  • Did you refinance a mortgage?
  • Did your employment or income change?
  • Has there been a change in marital status?
  • Did your family grow through birth or adoption?
  • Was there a death in the family?
  • Do you have a parent or other family member in need of assisted living?
  • Is there a severe illness in the family?
  • Did you receive a gift or inheritance?

If you have any questions or concerns, we would be happy to discuss possible outcomes for 2012 and 2013. Call 515-255-3354 or send an email to schedule a review.

Photo New Years Eve by conwil