Short, Sweet, to the Point: 10 Quick End-of-Year Steps You Can Still Take to Max-Perform Your Money

There’s about two weeks until you’ll starting writing 2023 and crossing it out, realizing that you’re supposed to be writing 2024.  You have about two weeks until you can start resolutions that, if you’re like me, should be called “The first three weeks of January resolutions” rather than New Year’s Resolutions.  You also have about two weeks to optimize your finances for 2023 and get 2024 started on the right foot.

Time is short, so this article will be too.  Here’s what you should consider:

  1. Today: DoD’s Open Season ends December 11, 2023. If you meant to change coverage on your teeth, eyeballs, kids or meds… log in now!
  2. Roth Conversions: If you think your taxes will be higher in the future, Roth Conversions should be on your list.The historically low 22% and 24% tax brackets are set to vanish in 2026.  Time is short.
  3. Solo 401(k): If you/your spouse are self-employed, you may want to establish a Solo 401(k) to save more for retirement. After the first year of self-employment, you have to get your Solo 401(k) established and funded with the employee portion of contributions before December 31st. This often takes days to weeks.
  4. Charitable Giving: The tax law changes in 2017 removed the tax incentive for most people to give to charity, but that usually isn’t the reason we give. If you do think you can itemize your taxes, you must do your giving by December 31st.
  5. Tax Help: If you have a tax mess to clean, e.g., historical excess Roth contributions or goobered-up depreciation on a rental home, you should lash up with a tax pro now while they’re at 1G and 0 knots. In March, they will be a Mach 2 with their hair on fire and if they can take you as a client, it will probably be to file an extension.  Many tax issues age like bad news—poorly.
  6. Estimated Payments: If you didn’t have enough withholding from your paycheck… or you sold a home with gains, say from depreciation recapture, or you sold investments, or you’re self-employed… there’s a good chance you’re getting ready to leave a tip for the tax man by paying a late/underpayment penalty. You can minimize that by achieving safe harbor before January 15, 2024.
  7. Max your 401(k): It’s too late to make TSP changes for 2023 (but you have 4 days to make changes for January 2024…), however some company plans allow an end-of-year extra deferral to the 401(k). This is most common in airline 401(k)s for the Mega Backdoor Roth IRA.
  8. Change your tax Withholding: If you had too much or too little tax withheld from your pay this year, you have until December 15th to make changes at MyPay to ensure that you start January off right.
  9. IRA Contributions: While you technically have until April 15th to make your 2023 IRA contribution, you get more time for compounding the sooner your dollars get nestled into their cozy IRA (for the next few decades). If you’ve got the cash, why wait?
  10. Tax Credits: If you’re considering an electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid (you can have my 1962 Joint Strike Prius if you want to convert it…), or energy efficient home upgrades, you’ll need to get those in service before December 31st to take the tax credit for this year. Keep in mind that the vehicle credits have income and other restrictions, so measure twice!

Cleared to Rejoin

You still have time to max perform your money this year. If you don’t get to all the items on this list, perhaps because you’re helping Santa curate his list… that’s okay.  2024 is coming and you get another lap around the sun to get ‘er dun!

Fight’s On!

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