In my more than 20 years as a financial advisor at full-service and discount brokerage firms, I have met and spoken with thousands of investors. Most of those investors had assets that ranged in value from $100 thousand to $100 million, but all of those investors had unique financial goals and situations. So with all of my clients, I have always focused on their individual planning and investment needs. However, there are some things that I would recommend all investors consider around year-end. Here are my “Top Ten Year-End Moves”:

Top Five December Moves

  1. Discuss year-end financial planning with your financial advisor, if you have not already done so. Also, consult your advisor before acting on any holiday party investment tips.
  2. Implement tax planning decisions such as: harvesting gains and losses, avoiding or minimizing distributions, gifting and making charitable contributions, etc.
  3. Take your required minimum distributions from your retirement accounts, if applicable.
  4. Maximize your annual insurance deductibles if they will reset, and utilize medical account funds if they will expire.
  5. Monitor your holiday spending.

Top Five January Moves

  1. Set your financial goals.
  2. Calculate your net worth, and check your credit reports.
  3. Review your monthly budget, emergency savings, and beneficiary designations.
  4. Review your asset allocations, and rebalance your accounts.
  5. Pay your holiday bills.

Many of the thousands of investors that I met and spoke with knew about and understood the concepts of account rebalancing and tax harvesting. However, few of those investors actually rebalanced their accounts or harvested their tax gains and losses on their own. Also, few of those investors had updated beneficiaries on all of their accounts, and a recently created or updated will or trust. In fact, I am shocked by how many investors out there have no or outdated beneficiaries on their accounts and no or outdated estate planning documents. If you are one of those investors, make New Year's resolutions to add, and/or update beneficiaries on all of your accounts, and get your will or trust done and/or updated by Valentine's Day.

Whether an investor has $100 thousand or $100 million, my year-end moves apply. My moves are general recommendations, but each investor needs specific advice. Consult your financial advisor, and create or update your financial plan. If you do not have an advisor, or are not satisfied with your current advisor, please contact us.

Any opinions are those of Sean Mullervy and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the developments referred to in this material. Asset allocation and diversification do not guarantee a profit nor protect against a loss. Rebalancing a non-retirement account may cause a taxable event that may increase your tax liability. Tax advice is not offered through RJFS or Raymond James. Discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.