The end of the year provides a number of planning opportunities and issues for financial advisors to discuss with their clients. Year-end topics can include tax planning, investment and retirement accounts, charitable giving, cash flow and savings, insurance and estate planning.
In this checklist, we cover a number of planning issues that your clients need to consider prior to year-end to ensure they stay on track, including:
- Various issues surrounding investment and retirement accounts including matching capital gains against any investment losses in taxable investment accounts and confirming that all RMDs are taken.
- Tax planning issues including strategies dependent upon your client’s prospects for higher or lower income in the future. You will also want to review where they sit relative to their tax bracket as this is a good time to make moves to fill out brackets for the current year that also might prove beneficial down the road.
- For clients who are charitably inclined, there are several strategies that will also help reduce their tax liability that can be considered based upon their situation.
- For clients who own a business, tax reform has created some opportunities surrounding pass-through income from the client’s business to their personal return. Accelerating or deferring business expenses presents another solid planning opportunity for these clients.
- It’s wise to review the client’s cash flow situation as you near year-end to see if they can fund a 529 plan for children or grandchildren or to see if they can save more in an employer-sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k).
This is a comprehensive checklist of the types of year-end planning issues that advisors should be discussing with their clients to ensure they consider and take advantage of opportunities in the current year and beyond.
Updated for 5/1/2020 (reflects updates from the CARES Act and the SECURE ACT)