A Financial Checklist for the Holidays

By Robert Fezza and Steve Siders

The year is quickly coming to a close, and if you’re like us, you are in the holiday planning mood: making your list and checking it twice; gonna find out who’s naughty and nice… wait a second, that’s Santa’s list. While this is a fun time of year, it’s also a good time to look at another type of list—a checklist to make sure your financial house is to wrap-up 2018.
To help you navigate and prioritize year-end tasks, we’ve made it easy, by compiling a checklist of things to consider:

◗ Do you have a balance in your Flexible Spending Account? Be sure to use the funds by year-end, so you don’t forfeit your money, unless your plan allows a $500 carryover.

◗ Have you met your annual medical insurance deductible? Schedule last-minute medical appointments and/or procedures to minimize your out of pocket expense.

◗ Are you employed? Maximize company retirement plan contributions—increase the percent contribution into your company 401k plan these last two pay periods.

◗ Tax laws are different for 2018. Have you had any major events in your life this year? Be sure to talk with your tax professional for personalized advice to help lower your tax bill.

◗ Do you have an individual or jointly owned investment account? Consider selling some underperforming positions to offset any realized gains you may already have for the year.

◗ Are you planning to pay for a child’s college expenses? Open an account and/or contribute to an existing GA Path2College 529 Plan to take advantage of state-income-tax benefits. And in case you weren’t aware, distributions of up to $10,000 per year from 529 accounts are now also tax-free for K-12 education expenses in addition to college.

◗ Have you Inherited an IRA or Qualified Plan? required minimum distributions (RMDs) are the responsibility of the beneficiary, and you should take any required distributions before December 31, 2018. Any shortfall is subject to a 50% penalty.

◗ If you turned 70½ years old (or older) this year, be sure to take your required minimum distributions (RMDs) from any IRA or Qualified Plan. IRS rules require this by December 31 annually with any shortfall subject to a 50% penalty.

Remember, the greatest gift you can give yourself and your loved ones is a responsible and well-thought-out financial plan. If you’ve been putting it off, the new year is the perfect time to act. If you want personalized attention to help guide you, call an experienced, reputable financial advisor that emphasizes financial planning and help yourself make 2019 a better year than you thought possible! ❍
Life is a journey, navigate it wisely.


Robert Fezza, CFP® and Steve Siders, CFP® own Odyssey Personal Financial Advisors, 500 Sun Valley Drive, Suite A-6, Roswell, GA. Their firm specializes in working with people who are serious about making progress toward financial goals. Odyssey manages portfolios greater than $250,000. 770-992-4444, www.odysseypfa.com. Securities offered through Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.