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Wealth Column: Your fall financial checklist

The actions you take now can save you time and money at the end of the year and when taxes are due.

Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on KLKS 100.1 FM on Sunday mornings.
Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on KLKS 100.1 FM on Sunday mornings.
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With the unofficial end of summer upon us, it’s time to think about your finances.

“Wait, what? It isn’t the end of the year. It isn’t even tax time. Why can’t I just enjoy these last two days?”

Relax, you can still enjoy a long weekend. But your financial plan doesn’t work when you are in a rush. The actions you take now can save you time and money at the end of the year and when taxes are due. Consider this your fall financial checklist.

Use up your flex spending

Check your balance in your flexible spending account as well as the rules regarding carry over and grace period. If you have a minor surgery you were planning for 2022, consider doing it this year. If you need a routine checkup, be sure to book now. After all, other people are going to have the same idea, and doctor’s offices will fill up.

Get ready for open enrollment

Take a look at your company’s health plan, especially if you are nearing the age of 65. If your flexible spending account has accumulated more than you need, consider reducing your contributions for 2022. Keep in mind, if you have an HSA, those dollars are yours to keep. If you have any questions, now is the time to ask human resources before they become inundated. Once open enrollment starts, you’ll have to make some quick decisions.

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Look at your taxable income

If you are considering a tax-harvesting strategy, now is the time to start planning. Capital losses that exceed your gains of up to $3,000 can be used to offset your taxable income. Obviously, you are going to want to carefully assess which assets it makes sense to sell. It is never better to sell at a loss. While you have until Dec. 31st to sell off underperforming stocks, you want to give yourself the time to be strategic.

Contribute as much as you can to savings

Look at your savings plan and see if it is aligned with your financial plan. If it’s not, beef up your 401(k) or IRA contributions. Again, this will go much easier if you can plan and set aside a certain amount each month to contribute. Remember, if you are 50 or over, you can use catch up provisions to put an extra $6,500 into your retirement plan.

RELATED: Wealth Column: How to save more for retirement It is recommended you save 15% to 20% of your income for retirement. That probably sounds daunting, but it is achievable. Consider raising your contributions by 1% per year. 

Take Your RMD

Did you turn 72 earlier this year, or did you turn 70.5 before Jan. 1, 2020? Many seniors are surprised to learn there's actually a penalty if they neglect to take timely distributions from their IRA. The tax penalty for failure to withdraw the full RMD amount, can be as high as 50% of the required shortfall.

Of course, taking RMDs has tax implications. Knowing now what you will be taking for the rest of the year can help with the other strategies we are recommending here.

Of course, if you have any concerns, this is the perfect time to talk to your adviser. Like you, they are busy with end of year activities, and they can walk you through any end-of-year questions. Now enjoy the rest of your weekend.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb are financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on News Radio 830 WCCO on Sunday mornings. Email Bruce and Peg at yourmoney@wealthenhancement.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Wealth Enhancement Group and Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services are separate entities from LPL.
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