As always, none of my content is financial, legal or advice.
To procrastinate on my annual financial review (because I lost so much money in 2022), I offer a holiday financial reminder. The end of the year is nigh, and it’s as good a time as any to dot your T’s and cross your I’s when it comes to your money.
Here are the most important financial checklist items everyone U.S. adult should consider before closing our the year.
I’ll start with a high level checklist. Some are due before the end of the year; some are on a rolling basis.
Top Level Checklist
- Max out 401K contributions
- Buy Series I Bonds
- Sell any investments you don’t care about at a loss (tax loss harveting)
- Submit flexible spending account (FSA) expenses for reimbursement
- Pay property taxes (varies by city/state)
- Finish open enrollment of any health care plans
Let’s dive into each bucket.
Investing: what to do before the end of the year
Max out 401(k) contributions
December 31 is the deadline to make 401(k) contributions for the year.
2022’s 401(k) contribution limit is $20,500. Those 50 and older can contribute an extra $6,500 catch-up contribution, or $27,000 total.
Maxing out your 401(K) has many advantages, not just in terms of tax but it offers a safer hedge against all other places you can invest in.
- IRA: you can contribute to that account up until the 2022 tax year filing deadline, which is April 18, 2023
- Solo 401K: must establish this by December 31st of this year, though after establishing you have up til tax time to make employee/profit sharing contributions
Tax Loss Harvesting
Tax loss harvesting is a fancy term for intentionally taking a loss on investments to reduce your taxes.
This means that if you have an investment, let’s say a stock, that is now less than what you bought it for, you can sell it for a loss. This will reduce taxes on capital gains (investment) income. If the loss is even greater, your can offset up to $3,000 of your ordinary income (like a job) for the year and carry any additional over.
You need to “harvest” any of your losses by the the calendar year, Dec. 31.
Max out Series I Bond
Every calendar year, you can buy up to $10,000 in Series I Bonds via TreasuryDirect. The rate is at historic highs, meaning you can get something like 6-9% returns on government backed bonds.
If you’re interested in buying these bonds, do it before the end of the year.
Health insurance: what to do before the end of the year
Spend all Flexible Savings Account (FSA) Funds
FSA money is “use it or lose it” by the end of the calendar year.
While you need to spend your FSA account balance down by Dec 31, 2022, it depends on when you’re employer says you have to submit expenses by. But safer to submit all receipts by December 31st as well.
- You can easily find FSA eligible items via FSAStore.com. Other places like CVS, Walgreens and Amazon should also have FSA filters.
- Use the Rakuten extension to get 2% cash back on FSAStore.com purchases
Depending on your employer, you might still be in an “open enrollment” period to pick health care plans.
For those buying their own insurance directly, Healthcare.gov says that December 15, 2022 is the last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start on January 15, 2023.
Otherwise, the 2023 Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1, 2022 through January 15, 2023 (but you don’t want to risk loss in coverage).
Pro tip: If you’re switching healthcare providers (like I am), request a copy of all your medical forms before the year ends. Get all the information you can get out of your current systems, because you don’t know if you’ll still have access to your account after the new year.
Miscellaneous finance to-do’s before the end of the year
If you got the most important deadlines covered, you might as well use that momentum to check off a few other things:
Add beneficiaries to your accounts: this is a morbid one, but add any beneficiaries to your investment & banking accounts.
Pay property taxes: depending on your county or state, property taxes may be due soon. For example, in Los Angeles county the first installment of your property tax bill is due on November 1 and becomes delinquent after 5:00 p.m. on December 10. The second installment of your tax bill is due on February 1 and becomes delinquent after 5:00 p.m. on April 10.
Evaluate your portfolio: take a look at what investments you want to keep or get rid of. If you haven’t maxed out your retirement accounts, consider stepping up your contributions.
Reflect: It’s been a crazy year in the realm of finance. In 2022 we saw major corrections in the stock market. If you were in crypto like me, you probably suffered some losses as well. Think about your investing psychology and any lessons you learned investing.
Set goals: Are there any financial goals you want to set for the coming year? Whether it’s to invest more, switch jobs, or start a side hustle, set some intentions so that you come into the new year ready. I recommend focusing on input vs output goals.
Engaging with a money coach like me can help you set and achieve your financial goals.
_ _ _
And that’s a wrap!
I wish you wealth and wellbeing, and to a rich 2023 :)