As we are past the halfway mark of 2021, it is an important time to do a mid-year financial planning review and reevaluation of your finances. This can be as easy as a budget review to make sure you are staying within the spending and saving thresholds you discussed with an advisor or planned on your own. However, there are other areas worth assessing at this point in the year.
Here are a few mid-year financial planning questions and checklists to run through:
Have any of your insurance needs changed over the course of the year? Maybe you had a new baby or one of your kids has aged out of your medical coverage, or maybe you had an increase in pay at your job, or possibly another mortgage. Late July is a good time to reevaluate your insurance coverages and decide if you need to buy additional supplemental coverages or buy any additional amounts through work. It is important to decide how much supplemental insurance you need to protect loved ones in addition to a basic $50,000 life policy. It is also a good time to look at other options like long-term and short-term disability coverages. Think about any occupation coverages you may need and to what amounts. If you are nearing retirement, you may need to start thinking about Medicare. You might consider moving to the Advantage plan or changing your coverages to A, B, D, and Medigap.
July can be a good time to look at your HSA, 401(k), 403(b), 457, and/or IRA contribution limits. Look for opportunities to increase contributions to these accounts which will also allow for tax reductions and future growth opportunities. Also, reevaluate whether or not you should be looking at pre-tax contributions or Roth (or maybe a combination of the two) for tax diversification in the future.
Roth Conversions, Tax Loss Harvesting, Rebalancing
Now can be a good time to discuss options for Roth conversions for the remainder of the year or assessing any capital gains before the end of the year. If some funds have dropped in value, it can also be a good time for tax-loss harvesting or rebalancing of portfolios to get back to your desired target allocations.
Estate Planning Techniques
Make sure your estate plan is updated, and that you have proper wills, power of attorney, and healthcare directives in place. Also, double check that the insurance and retirement accounts discussed earlier have proper and updated beneficiaries listed. The next 6 months are a good time to consider making gifts up to $15,000. If you’re looking to do any other philanthropic or charitable giving, go ahead and decide whether it should be done directly with cash, through securities or even with donor-advised funds.
While these are just a few mid-year financial planning areas discussed during a full financial review, this list can serve as way to assess or realign your finances as you head into the last two quarters of the year.
Matthews Barnett, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®
Financial Planning Specialist