By Scott M. Kahan
It’s almost spring and now is the time to give your finances a “spring cleaning!”
With the stock market sell off and continued volatility after record highs, interest rate increases, new tax laws and the ongoing uncertainty as to what is going on in Washington, now is the time to organize. Here are a few quick things to address to get started.
- Review your portfolio. With the return of volatility in equity prices and rising interest rates, it’s probably a good time to review your asset allocation. A simple way to re-balance your portfolio is to first set what percent of your portfolio should be in each asset class. Then when reviewing your portfolio, the sectors that have gone up will be over weighted and should be reduced, while the underperforming sectors will be under weighted and can be added to. If you follow this practice, it forces you to sell high, buy low and take the emotions out of investing.
- Review Your Taxes and Cash Flow. New tax laws have ushered in much confusion. With a limitation of $10,000 for SALT deductions, (State and local tax), along with various other impactful changes, now is the time to review your 2018 taxes. Even though you may be in a lower tax bracket, you still could end up paying more tax due to the lower allowed deductions. Check your withholding tax to make sure you are not under or over paying your taxes during the year. Then look to see if you are fully funding your retirement plans and look for all possible deductions to minimize your income tax. When you file your 2017 taxes, make sure to do a projection for 2018 as well.
- Review Your Estate Planning. When was the last time you looked at your wills and other estate planning documents? Make sure all beneficiaries are in place in retirement accounts. Review to make sure you have named guardians for minor children. If you have avoided setting up your estate plans, now is the time to address this important issue.
A simple review can help bring focus to your overall financial picture. A qualified Certified Financial Planner Professional can help ensure your financial affairs are consistent with your current and long-term goals and objectives. Get a strong start for 2018!