Year-End Finances for Women: Maximize Contributions & Optimize Tax Savings
The end of the year is a strategic time for fiscal planning, especially for women who are balancing family, career, and the ever-changing financial landscape. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with Green Financial Group, I'm here to guide you through this crucial period with strategies designed to maximize your contributions and optimize your tax savings.
Understanding the Feminine Financial Advantage
Firstly, let’s acknowledge that women possess many unique financial strengths, such as a tendency towards conservative investments and excellent budgeting skills. However, these can be a double-edged sword when it comes to year-end finances, where being too conservative can mean missed opportunities. Let’s focus on how we can leverage these strengths in the last few months of the year:
1. Retirement Contributions: Hit the Ceiling
Did you know that in 2023, the contribution limit for a 401(k) is $19,500 with an additional $6,500 allowed for those over 50? Many women don't utilize their full contribution space. As we approach year's end, it's time to check in on your contributions. If you haven't hit the ceiling yet, it's not too late to bump up your contributions. Not only does this bolster your retirement nest egg, but it can also significantly lower your taxable income.
2. IRAs and Roth IRAs: Last-Minute Moves
For IRAs and Roth IRAs, you have until the tax-filing deadline to make contributions for the year. But why wait? If you have the funds available, making contributions now can bring clarity to your year-end tax planning and potentially reduce what you owe come April.
3. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): An Overlooked Gem
HSAs are a triple tax-advantaged account that many women overlook. Contributions are tax-deductible, growth is tax-free and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are also untaxed. Max out your HSA to save on taxes now and provide a health care cushion for the future.
4. Charitable Contributions: Giving That Gives Back
Charitable contributions are more than a gesture of goodwill; they're a strategic financial decision. As a financial hub for women, Green Financial Group highlights the importance of thoughtful and intentional giving. By increasing your donations or starting a donor-advised fund, you can make a significant impact while gaining tax advantages.
5. Tax-Loss Harvesting: Turn Losses into Opportunities
If you have investments that have underperformed, consult with a financial advisor about tax-loss harvesting. This can offset the taxes you pay on gains and up to $3,000 of ordinary income. However, be cautious of the wash-sale rule which prohibits buying a "substantially identical" investment within 30 days before or after the sale.
6. Flex Spending Account (FSA): Use It or Lose It
Check the balance of your FSA, if you have one. These accounts are "use it or lose it," so make sure to spend down the balance on qualifying expenses before year's end. It's a smart way to ensure every dollar you've set aside works for you.
7. Review Your Portfolio: Aligning Investments with Goals
As the year closes, take a moment to review your investment portfolio. Are your investments still aligned with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon? This is the time to rebalance if needed, ensuring your portfolio is positioned to thrive in the new year.
The Final Note: Plan with Precision
Year-end planning is a chance to adjust the sails on your financial journey. Whether it's maximizing contributions to retirement accounts, making strategic charitable donations or rebalancing your portfolio, the moves you make now can have a significant impact on your financial landscape.
Remember, while this guide provides a framework, your financial situation is unique. That’s why at Green Financial Group, we are dedicated to providing personalized advice that aligns with your individual goals. Let's celebrate this year's achievements by setting the stage for a prosperous tomorrow.
Are you ready to take these year-end finance strategies and make them your own? Let's work together to end the year on a high note and step into the new year with financial prowess.
Please Note: Any opinions are those of Lauren Smith and not necessarily those Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., or of Raymond James. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected.
Neither Raymond James Financial Services nor any Raymond James Financial Advisor renders advice on tax issues, these matters should be discussed with the appropriate professional.