New Year’s Action
Another holiday season has now come and gone. As we ring in the New Year, let’s move past good intentioned resolutions that rarely are kept and take action that will benefit you for years to come. Here are a few ideas to jumpstart your 2019:
Plan for the Unplanned – A major life event such as a death or serious illness, marriage, divorce, job change, relocation, birth of a child, purchase of a new home – can dramatically impact your circumstances and those who are dependent on you. We all know how unpredictable life can be, so make a commitment to prepare and organize now. Whether creating or updating a will, establishing a trust or designating a power of attorney, it is important to decide how your property and assets should be distributed and the people involved. Beneficiary designations should be considered carefully, as well as others you have entrusted with responsibilities such as executing your will or becoming guardian of minor children.
Consolidate – Odds are that you have changed jobs several times during your career, and in turn end up owning several retirement accounts. With year-end statements arriving in early January from most financial institutions, it is a great time to review and possibly combine retirement accounts. Assets from 401(K) plans are often eligible to be rolled over to other 401(K) plans or IRA’s without incurring any tax consequences or penalties, thus making it more convenient to manage your assets and possibly reduce costs for you. While some financial institutions require paperwork to initiate this process, others make it as easy as placing a phone call!
Protect – In an age where we manage most of our lives digitally, identity theft and fraud are becoming increasingly more sophisticated. By taking a few preventive measures, you can minimize the potential for fraudulent activity. Be diligent in monitoring your accounts and statements, create strong passwords and security codes, frequently change them and notify companies promptly of any suspicious activity. Many companies now also offer a higher-level security process through “Two-factor authentication” which requires users to prove their identity through a minimum of 2 levels of verification.
Save More – The IRS is making some welcome changes to contribution limits in retirement accounts in 2019. Larger retirement contributions can mean lower tax bills – and more income in your retirement years. A few highlights of the changes include: IRA contribution limits will increase to $6000; 401(K) participants will be able to contribute up to $19,000 pre-tax; Small business owners may now be able to save up to $56,000 in SEP IRA’s. Additionally, the IRS has also announced increases in contribution limits to HSA and FSA accounts for 2019 which allow you to use pre-tax paycheck dollars to pay for medical expenses, child care, transportation or other qualified expenses.
Happy New Year!
“New Year’s Action” was published in the January 2019 issue of Life on the Green magazine, a social publication for the residents surrounding The Woodlands, Country Club, Player Course, where Dan is a resident and is a featured monthly contributor.