5 Important Financial Actions to Take Before the End of the Year

5 Important Financial Actions to Take Before the End of the Year

| December 12, 2021
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2021 had a lot riding on it. Most of us rang in the new year hoping we would go back to some sort of normal, but that’s not what happened. That’s why concerns about long-term inflation, potential tax changes, and a new COVID-19 variant have many people wondering if next year will be any better. Those are valid concerns. But when it comes to your personal finances, 2022 does not have to follow in the same footsteps as the last two years. There are many ways to take back control of your finances and set yourself up for a stronger future. Make sure all your bases are covered before the new year with these 5 tips.

1. Review Your Taxes

One of the most important actions you should take heading into 2022 is to review your taxes and make any necessary changes in light of the potential passage of the Build Back Better Plan. This bill could have far-reaching implications for people in all tax brackets and it’s important to review how your financial plan may be impacted. Some of the potential changes to be aware of include:

  • Increased business taxes
  • New surtax on Americans making more than $10 million per year
  • New cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions
  • Common tax-advantaged retirement strategies, including Roth conversions and backdoor Roth IRAs, could be eliminated or strictly regulated

If you have significant estate assets, are planning to retire, or you are expecting substantial capital gains in the next few years, be sure to review your plan with a financial professional to ensure you are taking steps to mitigate any potential risk.

2. Review Your Asset Allocation & Invest With Impact

The end of the year is also a great time to review your asset allocation strategy and incorporate ESG and impact investing if desired. Given the dramatic rise of inflation over the last few months, it’s crucial that you evaluate your investments and make sure your portfolio is properly diversified. It should also be tailored to your specific risk tolerance level, ensuring that you are earning enough returns to keep up with inflation, but you are not overexposing yourself to risk. 

If you are interested in using your funds to support environmental, social, or governmental issues (ESG), you can also consider impact investing as a way to earn returns while also promoting change on causes you care about.

3. Consider Charitable Donations

Charitable donations are another option that can be reviewed as the year-end approaches. The holidays are a great time to give money and assets to your favorite non-profits, churches, and organizations. 

Charitable donations can be used as part of your overall tax strategy, or as part of a comprehensive estate plan. Both options provide many potential benefits including supporting causes you care about, reducing your taxable income, and reducing your taxable estate.

4. Use Up Your Employee Benefits

While every employee benefit plan has its own rules and regulations, many of them expire or reset at the end of the year. You worked hard for these perks, so be sure to use them before it’s too late!

Medical and Dental Benefits

Now’s the time to take care of all your healthcare needs before your deductible resets. Dental plans in particular often have a maximum coverage amount. If you haven’t used the full amount and anticipate any treatments, make it a priority to set an appointment before December 31st.

Flexible Spending Account

Like your health insurance benefits, you’ll want to use up as much of your FSA (flexible spending account) dollars as possible by the end of the year since you are typically only allowed to carry over $500 each year. That being said, depending on your employer, you may be able to carry your full balance into 2022 thanks to a change by Congress due to the exacerbating circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. (1)

That being said, make sure you’ve at least spent all of your 2020 funds before the end of your plan year and ask your HR department about your plan and the deadlines that affect you. Also, check the restrictions on your account to see what the money can and cannot be used for, and take care of any needs you may have as allowed by your plan.

Sick and Vacation Time

Depending on your company, your sick or vacation time might expire at the end of the year. Check with your HR department to learn about any expiration dates. If it does expire, fit in a last-minute staycation or take some time off to work on projects you’ve been putting off. If you need to make any trips to the doctor, schedule those appointments now to make use of paid-time-off benefits before you lose them.

5. Revisit Your Plans and Policies

Lastly, take another look at your estate plan and insurance coverage. If you took the time and energy to create an estate plan, check it periodically to ensure all the documents are up to date and no major details have changed. 

Your insurance needs may also change as the year goes by, so periodically review your coverages and designated beneficiaries to bring them up to date to reflect your current financial situation. For example, if you paid off debt, you may not need as much life insurance coverage since your family’s liabilities have decreased. You might also want to evaluate your need for other types of insurance, such as long-term care or disability insurance. 

Partner With a Professional

At HBA Wealth, we can help you take back control of your finances after a rocky couple of years. Together, we can achieve your financial New Year’s resolutions in 2022! Reach out to us at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at ricky@hbawealth.com to get started. 

About Haydel, Biel & Associates

Haydel, Biel & Associates is an independent financial advisory firm serving individuals and families near Pasadena, California. The firm was founded in 2004 by Chris Haydel and Ricky Biel with a desire to provide unbiased, client-centered, community-based financial advice. Together, they have built a practice that has grown into a family of caring, smart professionals committed to blending proven investment methodologies with creative financial technologies that make it easier than ever to accomplish your goals. They strive to keep things simple and fun to give their clients peace of mind and alleviate financial stress. HBA Wealth takes care of their clients’ needs first and foremost and goes the extra mile to make their clients’ finances grow. To meet and see how the HBA Wealth team may be able to help, contact them today at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at ricky@hbawealth.com.

The commentary on this blog/website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Haydel Biel & Associates employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Haydel Biel & Associates or performance returns of any Haydel Biel & Associates Investments client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Haydel Biel & Associates manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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(1) https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/01/you-may-be-able-to-carry-over-your-entire-fsa-balance-this-year.html

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