Your Year-End Financial Checklist

The end of a year makes us think about last-minute things we need to address and good habits we want to start keeping. To that end, here are seven aspects of your financial life to think about as this year leads into the next

Your investments. Review your approach to investing and make sure it suits your objectives. Look over your portfolio positions and revisit your asset allocation

Your retirement planning strategy. Does it seem as practical as it did a few years ago? Are you able to max out contributions to IRAs and workplace retirement plans, like 401(k)s? Is it time to make catch-up contributions? Finally, consider Roth IRA conversion scenarios. If you are at the age when a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) is required from your traditional IRA(s), be sure to take your RMD by December 31. If you don’t, the IRS will assess a penalty of 50% of the RMD amount on top of the taxes you will already pay on that income. (While you can postpone your very first IRA RMD until April 1, 2018, that forces you into taking two RMDs next year, both taxable events.)1

Your tax situation. How many potential credits and/or deductions can you and your accountant find before the year ends? Have your CPA craft a year-end projection including Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). In years past, some business owners and executives didn’t really look into deductions and credits because they just assumed they would be hit by the AMT. The recent rise in the top marginal tax bracket (to 39.6%) made fewer high-earning executives and business owners subject to the AMT – their ordinary income tax liabilities grew. The top bracket looks as though it will remain at 39.6% for 2018 even if tax reforms pass. So, examine accelerated depreciation, R&D credits, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, incentive stock options, and certain types of tax-advantaged investments.2

Review any sales of appreciated property and both realized and unrealized losses and gains. Look back at last year’s loss carry-forwards. If you’ve sold securities, gather up cost-basis information. Look for any transactions that could potentially enhance your circumstances.

Your charitable gifting goals. Plan charitable contributions or contributions to education accounts, and make any desired cash gifts to family members. The annual federal gift tax exclusion is $14,000 per individual for 2017, meaning you can gift as much as $14,000 to as many individuals as you like this year, tax-free. A married couple can gift up to $28,000, tax-free, to as many individuals as they like. (The limits rise to $15,000 and $30,000 in 2018.) The gifts do count against the lifetime estate tax exemption amount, which is $5.49 million per individual (and therefore, $10.98 million per married couple) in 2017.3,4

You could also gift appreciated securities to a charity. If you have owned them for more than a year, you can deduct 100% of their fair market value and legally avoid capital gains tax you would normally incur from selling them.5

Besides outright gifts, you can explore creating and funding trusts on behalf of your family. The end of the year is also a good time to review any trusts you have in place.

Your life insurance coverage. Are your policies and beneficiaries up-to-date? Review premium costs and beneficiaries, and think about whether your insurance needs have changed.

Life events. Did you happen to get married or divorced in 2017? Did you move or change jobs? Buy a home or business? Did you lose a family member or see a severe illness or ailment affect a loved one? Did you reach the point at which Mom or Dad needed assisted living? Was there a new addition to your family this year? Did you receive an inheritance or a gift? All of these circumstances can have a financial impact on your life as well as the way you invest and plan for retirement and wind down your career or business. They are worth discussing with the financial or tax professional you know and trust.  

Lastly, did you reach any of these financially important ages in 2017? If so, act accordingly.

Did you turn 70½ this year? If so, you must now take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your IRA(s).

Did you turn 65 this year? If so, you are likely now eligible to apply for Medicare.

Did you turn 62 this year? If so, you can choose to apply for Social Security benefits.

Did you turn 59½ this year? If so, you may take IRA distributions without a 10% early withdrawal tax penalty.

Did you turn 55 this year? If so, you may be allowed to take distributions from your 401(k) account without penalty, provided you no longer work for that employer.

Did you turn 50 this year? If so, you can make “catch-up” contributions to IRAs (and certain qualified retirement plans).1,5

The end of the year is a key time to review your financial “health” and well-being. If you feel you need to address any of the items above, please feel free to give us a call.

Investment and Insurance Products are offered through Capital Investment Group, Inc. 

Member FINRA & SIPC.

The material contained on this web site should not be misconstrued as financial advice or an offer to sell any product.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.


1 – [4/29/17]

2 – [11/2/17]

3 – [10/23/17]

4 – [11/10/17]

5 – [10/17]

6 – [11/10/17]

An air transportation service that flies for good

How far would you travel to heal a sick child?

If you’re a parent, the answer is a no-brainer.

As a parent of 3 children of my own, there’s nothing that would stop me from trying to see my child healthy again. But the truth is, a child’s road to recovery isn’t always simple. For some families, a child’s illness is so specialized that parents are limited in how much they can actually help. That’s where Children’s Flight of Hope (CFOH) steps in.

For more than 25 years, CFOH has been flying children commercially, privately and internationally, to find the right medical care for those that need it most. But CFOH is more than just an air taxi service, and that’s why I’m honored to serve as the organization’s board chairman.

Each child that flies with CFOH becomes a CFOH child for life, and that’s because we care deeply about their path to wellness. Providing transportation is great, but offering hope to families in the midst of the most difficult season of life, is what it’s really all about.

How can you get involved?

It’s easier than you think. While CFOH flies children internationally for specialized medical care, the organization itself is based here in the Triangle, making it easier for you to get plugged in and support the cause.

If you are looking to help, start by donating a backpack care package. Before each flight, kids receive a backpack filled with travel essentials to ease their flying stresses. The backpack includes a blanket, coloring books, an aviation teddy bear and details on travel expectations. The money donated to CFOH goes directly to the backpack care packages and the air transportation itself. You’d be surprised how quickly small donations add up to make a real difference:

  • $20 – Covers the cost of an aviation bear.
  • $25 – Underwrites a small, fleece blanket for travel.
  • $75 – Fully-stocks a backpack care package.
  • $100 – Trains a flight liaison for children who require private travel.
  • $500 – Covers the cost of an average commercial mission for a child and their companion.
  • $5,000 – Covers CFOH’s cost for private travel missions.

Remember, the backpacks aren’t your only option. Fortunately, the Triangle community has embraced CFOH and its mission, by supporting multiple events throughout the year to help give back to children in need. Over the next few months, you’ll have the chance to join us at either of the events below. We’d be happy to see you there.

Let’s do more

When I joined the board in 2012 we flew 69 missions, mainly up and down the East Coast of the US. Yet, in just a few short years, with the help of some outstanding people, CFOH finished out 2016 with 510 flights serving children around the world.

With your help, we can do more. Let’s see how many children we can support, and what more can be accomplished in 2017.