Start the New Year With an Organized Outlook

December 17, 2020

As we approach the start of a new year, schedule some time to check in on your accounts, organize tax documents and review your health spending.

Winter 2021 market closures

  • Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
  • Jan. 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Feb. 15: Presidents Day

Dates to remember

  • Jan. 15: Fourth quarter estimated tax payments are due, if required.

Things to do

Organize for tax time: By early February, you should have tax forms in hand. Make sure to organize them, as well as any receipts if you itemize. To ensure all is in order, talk to your advisor about coordinating with your tax professional.

Brush up on benefits: Research your company’s open enrollment schedule and decide if you need to make changes.

Study your health spending: If you participate in a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), review contribution levels to take full advantage – withoutexceeding limits, which are adjusted regularly for inflation. If you have an FSA, use available funds before your plan’s use- it-or-lose-it deadline.

Prepare to turn 65: This is the age you become eligible for Medicare; a 10% premium penalty applies for each year you go without Part B coverage beyond this birthday in most cases. You have seven months to enroll, starting from three months before your birth month. You can ask your advisor about healthcare planning resources.

Think through a work windfall: Plan how you want to use your year-end bonus before it hits your checking account. Consider paying down high-interest debt, shoring up your emergency fund or increasing your 401(k) contribution.

Set savings to automatic: If you haven’t automated retirement contributions, start now. It’s also a good time to reconfirm your employer match and increase your contributions to allow more time to generate tax-deferred gains.

Play by the IRA rules: Pre-tax contributions to IRAs can reduce taxable income, and you have until April 15 to contribute for the current tax year. You also have the option to contribute early in the year toward the next tax year – so tell your IRA custodian which year the contribution applies to.

Talk to your advisor to make sure you don't miss any important financial planning dates in the coming months.

Withdrawals from tax-deferred accounts may be subject to income taxes, and prior to age 59 1/2 a 10% federal penalty tax may apply. Investment products are: not deposits, not FDIC/NCUA insured, not insured by any government agency, not bank guaranteed, subject to risk and may lose value. Raymond James financial advisors do not render legal or tax advice. Please consult a qualified professional regarding legal or tax advice.

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