Impossible. How can another year have passed by so quickly? It seems like yesterday that it was January and we were lamenting the stock market’s worst start to a year in the market’s history. Now we’re at an all-time high in the Dow. Brexit, the Rio Olympics, the presidential election…that’s quite a year, and it seemed to happen so fast!
As we head into 2017, it may be a good time to pause and consider what’s coming and how best to prepare for it. Here are some moves to make before turning the page on 2016:
1. Consider Your Taxes
Are there opportunities to reduce your taxable income before 2016 ends? Consider making tax-deductible charitable contributions, cleaning out the attic and donating to Goodwill, maybe trimming some investments that lost value to offset taxable gains (called ‘tax loss harvesting.) Also, if you’re over age 70-1/2 and you haven’t taken your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) for 2016, let us help you get it completed.
2. Review Your Planning Needs
We schedule progress reviews in January for a number of reasons; we’re able to discuss investment results from 2016, and also to ensure that going into the new-year your planning needs and desires are being reflected in your actual plan. Therefore, this is a great time to reflect and to consider how congruent your financial plan is with your family needs.
3. Adjust Your Risk Tolerance
Because 2016 was such a turbulent year for investors, many were tested in the area of risk tolerance. Now that we’ve been reminded of the volatile nature of the stock and bond markets, do you feel comfortable with your investment approach? Considering your comfort with risk is a prudent thing to do before your upcoming progress review.
4. Build Your 2017 Wish List
Are there big purchases you’d like to make or trips to plan? Maybe this is the year you tour Europe or update the kitchen. If you have some dreams with a larger price tag attached, this is a very good time to ensure that you have a plan for paying for those dreams without unnecessary pain in the way of fees or interest payments. Some people may benefit from having stock dividends deposited into a cash account rather than reinvested. That way, you can pay for your big-ticket items out of cash generated from investments rather than from normal income sources. Not sure what that means? Ask us when we meet next.
5. Are You As Healthy As You’d Like?
Since life isn’t isn’t all about money, are there things you’d like to do to become more physically active in 2017? Sure, New Year’s Resolutions often receive bad press, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some healthy changes. For example, I had a dentist appointment on January 2nd of 2012, so I decided to floss daily, beginning January 1st. I’m on day 1,810 as you’re reading this. I haven’t missed a day since declaring I’m no longer a sporadic flosser. How can you apply this silly example to your health?
I love the end of the year. I really enjoy reflecting on what’s passed and then looking ahead. Sure, not all plans work out exactly as designed, but the process of reflection and preparation are at least half the battle toward a more organized, purposeful, or meaningful life experience.
If you’d like to share your plans or questions with me, just reply to this email and I’ll respond as soon as I’m able. 2017, here we come!
All the best,
Adam Cufr, RICP®