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Financial Portfolio Yearly Review Checklist

Financial Portfolio Yearly Review Checklist

It’s January. The W-2’s and 1099’s are beginning to roll in. Your tax accountant is chomping at the bit to get your documents so they can begin preparing your returns. Why not take this opportunity to review your financial well-being? Join Matt Robison and me this week as we present a handy checklist of things you should examine every year to reach your financial goals.
While it may seem daunting, taking the time to perform this review saves you money on taxes and makes you some extra cash with a few small tweaks to logistics. There are six main areas of concentration for you to review: a personal assessment, cash flow considerations, asset and debt factors, tax implications, insurance planning, and legalities. I’ve put this all in a handy dandy downloadable checklist, just click below to receive your free copy and keep reading to learn more about each category you should review.
 

 
Don’t just take my word for it…tune in and hear Matt talk about how he “earned” about $1,000 an hour by taking the time to complete this review!
 

Personal Assessment

  1. Do you need to assess the progress you made toward your goals last year? If so, consider the following:
    1. Review and compare your financial models, comparing a snapshot of where you are today to last year and/or a prior time. Inventory your recent accomplishments to identify what strategies worked well.
  2. Have you identified new goals for this year or the future?
    1. If so, assign a priority and time horizon, and incorporate them into your overall plan.
  3. Are there any life events that are likely to occur for yourself or your immediate family this year (e.g., move, marriage, birth, higher education, job change, retirement, illness, death)?
  4. Do you need to confirm whether you or any family members will reach a milestone age this year? If so, reference the “Important Milestones” guide.
  5. Are you concerned about any variables or circumstances that could potentially impact your plans for this year?

 

Cash Flow Considerations

  1. Do you expect your household income and/or expenses to change materially this year?
  2. Do you need to review your cash flow plan?
    1. If so, evaluate your actual income and expenses, and adjust your spending plan as necessary.
  3. Do you need to review your employee benefits to ensure that you are taking advantage of what your employer offers?
    1. If so, consider maxing out annual contributions to any retirement accounts, Health Savings Account, Flexible Spending Account, and/or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account.
  4. Are you able to contribute to an IRA?
    1. If so, consider the following: Fund a Roth IRA, make deductible contributions to a traditional IRA, or make after-tax contributions to a traditional IRA, depending upon your eligibility.
    2. If you are married and your spouse does not have earned income, explore spousal IRA options.
  5. Do you need to confirm that you are adequately saving toward your goals?
    1. If so, review your target savings and funding rates. If you fully fund some goals early in the year, continue saving toward other goals.
  6. Do you have funds left in your FSA from last year?
    1. If so, consider spending such funds before the expiration of any grace period.
  7. Are you subject to taking RMDs (including from inherited IRAs)?
    1. If so, consider the following: If you are charitably inclined and age 701⁄2 or older, you can do a QCD to satisfy your RMD. Note the “first dollars out” rule.
    2. Time the satisfaction of your RMD to support your goals, and be sure to review your withholdings.
  8. Do you make annual gifts?
    1. If so, make a plan to fund strategically, and track the use of your annual exclusion amount for non-charitable gifts.

 

Asset and Debt Factors

  1. Do you need to adjust or replenish your emergency fund?
  2. Are you planning to buy or sell business, personal, or real property this year?
  3. Do you need to review your investment risk tolerance?
  4. Do you need to review the performance of your investment accounts?
  5. Do you need to rebalance your investment portfolio or otherwise adjust your asset allocation?
    1. If so, consider the following: Be sure to consider the tax consequences and trade strategically. If you made any trades last year that were meant to be short-term (e.g., due to tax loss harvesting or to avoid capital gain distributions), revisit your strategy and reposition as necessary.
  6. Do you need to review your asset location across the accounts in your portfolio?
    1. If so, consider holding tax-efficient investments in taxable accounts, and tax-inefficient investments in tax-preferred accounts.
  7. If you have a mortgage, should you explore refinancing?
  8. Are there debts that you would like to eliminate this year?
    1. If so, strategically target debts with the least favorable terms first.
  9. Are you a co-signer/guarantor on any loans/agreements?
    1. If so, check in with the other interested parties to confirm the terms, payment history, current status, etc.
  10. Will you potentially need to borrow funds this year?
  11. Do you need to review your credit report/score?
  12. Do you need to freeze your credit?

 

Tax Implications

  1. Do you need to collect tax forms and organize other documents in preparation for filing income tax returns for last year?
    1. If so, use last year’s filings and/or a tax organizer to begin to gather all information necessary for filing Form 1040 and any state returns.
  2. Did you make taxable gifts, or do you want to split gifts for last year?
    1. If so, collect the documentation necessary for filing Form 709.
  3. Would Roth conversions be beneficial this year?
  4. Did you fail to make an IRA contribution for the prior tax year, but would you like to do so?
    1. If so, you have until Tax Day (excluding extensions) this year to make a contribution for last year.
  5. Do you own investments in taxable accounts that are likely to make capital gains or income distributions (e.g., certain mutual funds and ETFs)?
    1. If so, consider your cost basis and whether it might be advantageous to sell in advance of such distributions.
  6. Do you need to review your unrealized gains and losses and create a harvesting strategy?

 

Insurance Planning

  1. Do you expect any changes with regard to your health or medical treatments?
    1. If so, consider reviewing your health insurance coverage and alternate options.
  2. Do you need to review your life insurance coverage?
  3. Do you need new or increased disability insurance coverage?
  4. Is it time to explore (or review existing) LTC insurance?
  5. Have you made any improvements to your property or acquired new valuables?
    1. If so, consider reviewing your property insurance (homeowners, renters, etc.), increasing coverage and/or adding riders as appropriate.

 

Legal Issues

  1. Do you need to review your estate plan?
  2. Do you need to review the titling/ownership of your assets?
  3. Are you, or will you be, serving as a fiduciary?
    1. If so, consider the following: Review your duties and your performance to ensure that you are upholding applicable standards.
    2. If you are an Executor or Trustee of an irrevocable trust, consider whether a distribution and election under the 65-Day Rule would be prudent.
  4. Have any new laws gone into effect that might impact your financial plan?
    1. If so, consider how your saving strategies, income tax situation, estate plan, etc. might have been affected and what steps might be necessary.
  5. Are you subject to any new contracts/agreements, or did any such arrangements expire?
  6. If you own a business, are there any changes on the horizon this year?
  7. Are there any state-specific issues to consider?

 

Transcript

Transcript
mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:00:00

I don’t know. That’s not a good idea. ’cause then we actually have to clap.

Track 1:00:00:04

I should we clap right now? It’s like that old ad. 3, 2, 1. That didn’t work at all. Hey, I’m Matt Robeson. This is the Audio Engineering Hour, also known as Financial Life Planning. I’m with Mike Borton, who’s look, we’re not gonna be able, people don’t come to this.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:00:23

Yeah. Bela,

Track 1:00:00:25

I

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:00:25

I wanna be label it.

Track 1:00:00:26

every recording platform has issues,

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:00:30

Here we go again. All right?

Track 1:00:00:31

we have, so we have so many issues. But look, we’re not gonna, we’re not gonna bore people with that. What you wanna bore people with is we’re starting off the year. Congratulations.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:00:40

Congratulations. Happy to you. Wait, I don’t wanna bore the listeners at all. Matt, whatcha talking about,

Track 1:00:00:45

Oh, sorry. What I meant was we wanna entertain the listeners by taking them inside. Look, everyone makes resolutions and there’s all kinds of this. Start off your ear. Forget all that stuff. Everyone else’s advice is terrible. Our advice is great because what you wanna do. Is you wanna go through what are a few key things to really think about at the start of the year, and you’ve got a helpful checklist that’s on your website for this. That’s that’s great. That’s so

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:01:13

Look at how organized I am. I have a whole checklist you can download to help you start off the new year correctly.

Track 1:00:01:21

where’s your website?

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:01:23

my website? Morton fa.com, as in morton financial advice.com.

Track 1:00:01:29

Don’t a lot of soccer teams have FA in their title. Are you also a soccer

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:01:35

No, that would be awesome though. If I was, I, I hope to own a soccer team one day and or maybe just a partial owner,

Track 1:00:01:40

it’s, if you follow your checklist, you might achieve that goal. It’s speaking of which alright, so I think what I liked about the checklist is that it’s obviously very helpful, although checklist can also be stressful because they can be a reminder of. Oh damn. Here are all the things I’m supposed to be doing that I’m not doing. So what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna take something that’s already convenient, which is the checklist on your website, morton fa.com. I’m gonna need more insight on what FA stands for. We’re gonna take the checklist that’s already convenient. We’re gonna make it even more convenient by just highlighting a few of the items that are really the most helpful, most must do. Let’s start off with. We left off in, in a recent episode with this great idea you had in order to look forward, look backward first. That, that’s helpful and you have a nice way to make that concrete as a next step. So first of all, remind people, what did you mean by to look forward? Look backward.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:02:36

So when we’re creating goals for this year, often we just skip, we talked about that last time. So hey, new Year’s resolutions, I’m gonna do this year. And often you skip what worked really well for me in the past, either last year or the last few years. What has worked really well for me? What do I want to double down on? What didn’t work so well where I need to make a tweak? So we’re doing that anyway. When you think about New Year’s resolutions, you’re probably implicitly doing that, thinking backwards, but you and I wanted to make that explicit and say, look, take measure, take stock of what you have done in the past. What results did you get? Then what results are you looking for in the future? And will those same habits or goals, help you to reach those results? So that’s the idea here before we set it. The first section on the checklist is all about new goals starting off the year with those kinds of things. And so we’ve talked about that already. Looking backwards first in order to set yourself up for success looking forward with your personal and family goals.

Track 1:00:03:35

So what really stood out to me in the first section, which is called personal issues, which boy do I have a lot of those.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:03:42

Yeah, that might be a longer section for you,

Track 1:00:03:44

Yeah, personal issues that might be even be a misleading title. What really stood out to me was the second item here, which you write as, have you identified new goals for this year or for the future? If so, assign a priority and time horizon and incorporate them into your overall plan. The reason that stood out is that I got a great piece of advice once that there are good productive goals in the world, and then there are less well formulated goals and well formulated goals. Are achievable, measurable, and have a timeline associated with ’em. And that’s what you’re suggesting here, which is figure out what you can achieve. That’s the look back to look forward and figure out how to measure them so that they are quantifiable, objective, if you’ve met them or not. And put a timeline on them that way you know when to assess. So I found that super productive.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:04:32

Is that, wait, are those like smart goals? What’s the S-M-A-R-T are you Nevermind.

Track 1:00:04:40

I, I can’t take Achievable realistic time. Oh, yeah. Smart.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:04:45

We’re just not smart enough, Matt. That’s the problem

Track 1:00:04:48

don’t need acronyms. Okay. Where we’re going. We don’t need

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:04:51

We like to spell it out here.

Track 1:00:04:53

I can’t take another smart thing in my life. Everything that they made smart sucks. It just becomes more complicated and everything has an instruction manual with it that I do not have time to read. I don’t need a smart refrigerator to tell me, Hey, Matt, stop eating so much ice cream. It’s I knew that already. Thanks, Frigidaire.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:05:13

Fridge air.

Track 1:00:05:14

Yeah, great. That’s you’re, you and my doctor. Okay. You can team up.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:05:19

it is true. We need less smart. We need less smart gadgets

Track 1:00:05:22

I, the smart gadgets are so bad. They’re it’s taking something that works just fine and turning it into a pain in the ass. It’s

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:05:29

Here’s the other issue with these kind of smart stuff. How many things can go wrong in that smart fridge? I was thinking about my new car. New to me car and all the stuff. There’s cameras and sensors like everywhere, which is really cool. You’re like, oh my gosh. It’s sensing everything outside and it gives you this cool like video of what’s going on outside. And then I’m just thinking, how many things can now go wrong with this car? It’s no longer just the engine and wheels. Now you got all this wiring and sensors and just more stuff to go wrong. Goes back to the episode we had before about the ongoing costs of ownership. That smart fridge, how many things are gonna go wrong with it. That video that shows you the inside of your fridge, it’s gonna go out and your kids are gonna be like, wait, the video’s not working. We need to replace the whole

Track 1:00:06:11

Oh yeah, dude. You know who super knows how many things can go wrong and how much it costs to replace them, the manufacturers, because this is a money making opportunity. The problem with the business model of many products is once you sell it, you are no longer making money from it, which is why. For example, if you own a printer, you will find that most printer manufacturers now have a heavily incentivized as in do this or we’re gonna really. Put it to you, we’re gonna really extract every last dollar from your wallet. They most have, they mostly have ink replenishment plans, they have subscriptions. That’s their way of making sure that you continue to pay them money. And you can’t afford to just buy ink whenever you think so. No. You’ve gotta sign up for a subscription plan. And this is the way it goes with most consumer products. If there’s an opportunity for you to keep paying the money because something else is gonna break, they’re gonna take it. I do. We sound like crotchety old. We’re old man. Shakes, fisted, cloud. This is terrible. All right, people are not here for this, but

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:07:15

Back to the

Track 1:00:07:15

they do want smart goals so what you’re saying here is just great. You did the work, you looked backward to look forward. Now just turn it into a smart goal.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:07:24

There you go. Make it smart. All right. What else is on

Track 1:00:07:26

Wow. We really blew a lot of time on something that we could have summarized in 10 seconds there. All right. That’s great. So you get into a bunch of cash flow stuff. I wanna punt on that for a second because I think it connects to. Something else. I just wanna preview, we’re gonna do a show coming up about risk. We talked about risk before. You have some really helpful, smart ways to reframe the idea of risk in our mind. So this is just like a little bit of a tease for an upcoming show, but you have here under asset and debt issues. Do you need to review your investment risk tolerance? Just gimme a little hint. What do you mean by that? Why is that a good thing to do at the start of the year?

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:08:08

Yeah, so often as you’re obviously going through life, things change and risk has a time component to it in many ways. But this one is our own time component. So as I get older, maybe I’m in a different situation than I was a year ago, and maybe Matt, if I didn’t have this checklist, maybe I’ll last revisited this five or 10 years. And so things might’ve really changed. It’s good to think about, hey has my risk time horizon, the timeline aspect of how risky I want my investments to be. Has that changed? For instance, I’m gonna retire in two years. And I haven’t thought about this for five years, eh, that’s a good time to like really think about it. Or, maybe you got an inheritance and you’re like, oh, it’s just still sitting there in whatever asset allocation it was. So you revisit your own risk tolerance and then decide, hey, should I rebalance or should I do something with that? Visiting kinda where you are in life, what you expect to invest over, one year, five year, 20 years and make sure that your investments are aligned. With those time horizons.

Track 1:00:09:09

That makes a lot of sense to me, especially the idea of things change in the world. That’s the nature of the universe, and I like the idea, I have so many things that are on autopilot in my life and it’s so much easier that way. That way I don’t need to review the smart fridge and whether I’m eating enough ice cream or maybe too much, probably not enough. Since the world changes, a lot of the things that you, that I, I punted on a moment ago in terms of cashflow issues that you raise on the checklist. I think if I took them up to 30,000 feet, they amount to, has something major changed in your life? Maybe if you just ask yourself that question like, are there. Any major changes in my life and have, I thought through the waterfall of maybe this flows its way down into my cash flow. Maybe this flows, oh, my spouse has a new job. Have we really gone through the new employee benefit booklet? Sufficiently have we done a comparative of, we have been getting this perk from my employer, maybe we should switch that to their employer. All kinds of little things like that I’m telling you, I just, it just doesn’t even occur to me personally to do that push down. So e even just starting with a question of have I had a life event? Has something changed in my world that, that feels helpful to me?

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:10:33

Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s super helpful. Those are the big things we gotta look at as something changed, as something new. But given, even given what I just mentioned, the passing of time is new, like you’re in a new situation, even if nothing big has changed in your life. But that being said, what’s nice about this checklist is you don’t have to just think. Oh yeah, we did get like a new job or we did get an inheritance. What should I do? This checklist kind of runs you through and hopefully most of the things are no do I need to do this? No. Do I need to do this? No. This didn’t happen. No, but it just reminds you in each of the areas, things to be aware of and things to think about that might apply to you. So you don’t have to just take that global 30,000 foot view and be like, oh yeah, this one thing has changed. What should I do about that? The checklist will help you think through all those

Track 1:00:11:15

And that’s a great bridge to the next topic on the checklist, which is tax issues. Again, I feel like I’ve got a lot of those. Wait, no. Hold on. IRS if you’re listening in, I don’t have any tax issues. It’s straightforward. Please don’t audit me. I. One of the things that every tax preparer that I’ve ever worked with does is they give you their own little checklist. It’s usually a questionnaire that I have to fill out, and I find that it’s redundant, it feels repetitive, but what they’re really doing, it occurs to me now that I look at your checklist, is they’re sneakily. Finding different ways to ask you, have you really thought about how all the 30,000 foot changes in your life over the last year might have tax consequences in these little nooks and crannies of the tax code that you probably haven’t thought of? And you run through a lot of these yourself here, and it just struck me as. Oh, what’s really great about this section of your questionnaire is you’ve gotta do all this probably for your tax preparer or yourself. If you use like TurboTax or whatever, you’ve gotta go through all this stuff anyway. It feels like you’re suggesting, you could also get some more mileage out of that by thinking about it, not from a tax standpoint, but from a financial planning standpoint. Is that, did I get the right flavor of that?

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:12:30

Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. A lot of these, right when we’re preparing taxes, which is, let’s see, we’re early in the year, so probably people aren’t thinking about it quite yet. They’re gonna start trickling in the end of this month. And it’s funny you mentioned a packet from your accountant because I just received it in the mail and it’s this massive envelope, but I’m like, oh my gosh, what is this stack of papers? Do I have to read this? So good news, this checklist is only two pages. It’s very short. But when it comes to the tax issues, yeah, you’re gonna be doing this anyway, so it’s good. Again, there’s a handy checklist to just have ready and oh yeah, I gotta sit down and start gathering some documents. You can look through this at the same time and remind yourself any of these apply to you. So some of the things in the taxes is did you make taxable gifts? Charitable gifts gifts or charitable gifts. Could both have tax implications, IRA contributions, HSA contributions capital gains things like that are all, need to be reported, to your accountant. And are things to be aware of for last year and for this year as

Track 1:00:13:26

There are a few things on this list that have that dual use that again, I promise, is a time and money saver, even though it feels like, wait, Matt, Mike, are you guys giving me more fricking homework having to do my taxes? I. The answer is no, not really, because you have to do these things anyway. And this is another piece of like work training advice. It went with smart goals. It was the same workplace training I got, which is make sure that each piece of paper or. In an electronic world, like each email, each task crosses your desk only once. Don’t cycle back and do it multiple times. It takes way more time and mental effort. And so like you’ve got stuff on here, like did you fail to make an IRA contribution for the prior tax year, but would you like to do so you’re gonna find out about your IRA contributions because that’s gonna have tax implications. And then if you realize that in the course of doing this, we just covered this on a recent show, you haven’t until tax day. To make a contribution for last year. Hey, that’s a huge deal. Like you, you just covered that. There’s this whole like backdoor money laundering thing you can do that’s totally illegal and that can save you or make you 10,000 bucks. That’s a huge, that’s a huge thing. Get it done once as you go through the taxes.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:14:43

Yeah, absolutely. IRA contributions, we talked about it so many times, but make sure you’re taking advantage of your individual retirement accounts, your IRAs, Roth ira, traditional ira, maybe you gotta do a Roth conversion with that, the backdoor idea. But making those contributions, you still have until tax time. To do last year’s contribution. Same with your HSA. That’s another one that you get a little gimme here at the start of 2024. You can make a contribution to your health savings account for 2023, even though that year’s already gone. So you definitely want to take a look at that. And I love the way you said that, Matt, speaking of your own aphorisms, one job at a time. Every job is success. Let this pass, pass your desk one time and take a look at it and do it all at once and make sure you’re, comprehensive and while you’re in the mindset thinking about it.

Track 1:00:15:30

Hey, can I hat tip that aphorism because I would love for that to be Mark. I leave on the world to have it attributed to me. Matt Robeson. Noted Aphorism gem cutter. No. You know where that came from? Actor Mike Myers. His father. His father, Yeah. He told that story on Inside the actor’s studio and he said, this is what my dad used to say to me. Oh my gosh. That’s, it’s just that one. My, I think I said this on a recent show, that one is one of my keepers and the other one I heard recently that I really like is Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. I love that. Whenever I have to get something done fast, the first step is I slow down. I slow down and I make fewer miss anyway, whatever. Alright, let’s, so that’s tax issues. Just get a little bit more mileage out of that. There’s a

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:16:23

Oh, I also wanted to just mention on that, you talked about, yeah, one more, one more checklist, one more thing to do. But remember, as we’ve said multiple times, a lot of these will actually make you money. So your per hour cost, rebalancing your portfolio, are you still in the same risk? Tolerance. Maybe it’s been, you let it go for a while. You need to revisit that these, all these things can make you money or save you money by putting in a couple hours effort of time. They’re definitely worthwhile. The compounding on these kinds of things is unbelievable. So by putting a little bit of time, you definitely will make or save yourself a lot of headaches down the

Track 1:00:16:56

Thousands of dollars. I recently spent update for our listeners. I recently spent, boy, this is taking a big circle around full circle. About a year ago, maybe a little more, we did a show on the difference between mutual funds and ETFs. And this is actually one of the things that you call out. On your tax issues checklist, and we talked about the fact that a couple years ago there was this one time hit that people who had holdings in mutual funds. Got assessed with, and it was, for me, it was thousands of dollars. It was terrible. I got a communication that there was a class action lawsuit against my financial firm in the state in which I reside. And I had to go through absolute gauntlet of legal paperwork. I won’t talk about boring people. I’ll spare people the details. Just, it was gruesome. It was so much time. Probably took me five hours in total. But I recovered thousands of dollars as part of this class action lawsuit. I deposited the check the other day. My imputed hourly pay was over a thousand dollars an hour for the time I put in. It sucked while I was going through it, but man, is it worth it? And all the things on your list here, especially in the tax section. Feel the same way. You can just, you can make a lot of money or think about it the other way. You can miss out on the opportunity. You could lose a lot of money by not doing these things. Good to do.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:18:34

Yeah. It’s funny you brought up the target date funds again, Matt. ’cause it is one of my favorite vehicles. We’ve talked about target date funds in the past, but I’ll tease an upcoming episode that is, you really Don’t want to be using them.

Track 1:00:18:45

Oh, damnit. Don’t tell me that. Oh, gosh. We’re gonna have words when we’re done recording words, I tell you. All right. I’m just gonna briefly gloss over your section on insurance issues. I. Just, it’s, we did a show on insurance. Insurance is it’s boring as hell, but it’s really

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:19:02

It is Bo It’s so boring, Matt, and It’s so important so definitely, you could breeze over in the episode here. We don’t wanna bore the listener. No one wants to hear about insurance, but it’s only a couple of questions. Make sure you just tick the boxes oh yeah, I thought about these things. And none of them are necessary. No changes are necessary because insurance is one of those things that. It rarely happens. It’s super boring. It’s super, a lot of paperwork and it’s not gonna happen to me ’cause it doesn’t hardly happen to anybody. Yeah, congratulations. Except if it, if you are the person that it happens to and then it’s catastrophic. And so just be careful to make sure that you’re covered.

Track 1:00:19:37

The very top thing. In your list here is do you expect any changes with regard to your health or medical treatments? And of course, frequently in life when you have. High cost health or medical treatments. They’re unexpected, but not always. Not always. You can anticipate things like surgeries or treatments, things that are coming up this year, and you may, if they’re not associated with I. Life events. I’m air quoting here. If they’re not associated with life events, you may not have the right coverage for what you need to get done. And that difference, again, talk about saving yourself or costing yourself thousands of dollars. You put in 15 or 20 minutes, review that horrible legalese that goes with your health insurance coverage and say, huh, if I switch, it would help me. That pays off. On an hourly basis so much. Anyway. Alright, that’s insurance. Legal issues. Whew. That’s that’s a big one. I’m gonna go dealer’s choice here. I have a favorite one on this list. You’ve got like seven of these. But what, which one stands out to you?

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:20:49

I You go, You said, did you have

Track 1:00:20:51

I have a favorite, which is, it takes us back to the top of the show. Have any new laws gone into effect that might impact your financial plan? This is the kind of thing that. It just feels so sneaky to me because we let the news glaze over us. Even people like me who spent a decade working in Congress, you remember that show we did where you’re like, they passed a tax law. And I’m like, what? Yeah. What is in this tax law? It’s let me tell you. Just knowing that, this is something that. You need to be aware of that’s one of those changes in the world that could affect you and you highlighted that there are some things that people should be aware of.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:21:30

Yeah, you definitely want to take that into consideration. The thing that, we talked about a few of them before. Obviously some of the numbers change each year with inflation. So like the amount you can contribute to your IRA or your 401k that might change each year. Do a quick Google search on that. Make sure you update your HR to get the start of the year. Here’s a good tip. Contact HR to make sure your 401k contributions are the right percentage throughout the year. So you’re maximizing that 401k, which did go up by 500 bucks here in 2024. So that’s not a necessarily new law change, but it’s a new change, for this year. One thing I will mention is that we have the Tax Job cuts act anyway, it’s sun setting in 2025, so another. Two years. Okay. But one thing you’re gonna start hearing a lot about is the lifetime gifting is getting cut in half. It’s nor it’s right now, 12 million that you can leave to somebody with no taxes whatsoever. That’s gonna get cut down to 6 million. And that’s, that sounds, may sound like really massive numbers. A lar, a lot of people are gonna be reaching those, either in the near future or in their lifetime. And so you definitely want to think about that for you, your parents, maybe friends in that situation where right now you can gift a lot and that’s gonna get cut in half. So that’s a pretty big change, if that law actually sunsets along with tax bracket changes and stuff like that. There’s a lot of things that change. This is a really good one to have on the checklist. ’cause they change every year. You’re never sure did it change? What’s changed? What’s coming down the pike? What do I need to think about now? Because it’s going to change in a year or two. And so you want to be just generally aware of these and there’s good articles and stuff that make, give you some, oh, here’s the six or seven things to think about. And you can mostly gloss over them. Okay. Yeah. It doesn’t apply. It doesn’t apply. It doesn’t apply. But then if you find one that does, all of a sudden it’s whoa. That, that can make a really big difference to

Track 1:00:23:21

And we’re not just talking taxes. And I think that’s one of the points that you raise here in this questionnaire is that we are used to our tax preparers bringing to us, Hey, there’s a new change in tax law, and you could write off this now the limits of whatever it is. But it that’s necessary. That’s helpful, but it’s not sufficient. In this case, because there are legal changes that affect your financial plan and your investing changes in HSAs and changes in, in gifts and stuff like that. It’s not all just taxes. And there’s also, look, I mean, to be clear, there’s. there’s. uncertainty about things like this because Congress can come in and extend things. That’s one of the major functions of what they do. You don’t know. So this is where it’s just useful to pick out. You don’t have to get everything a hundred percent but picking out if there are major new laws, maybe talking to a financial planner, anticipating a little bit. It’s just one of those, well-paying propositions, it’s make thousands of dollars if you make some smart choices there. Alright.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:24:24

Yeah. And here’s the last thing I’ll say on that because you brought it up briefly that this is tax time. And often your accountant will let you know oh, here’s some changes. But honestly, that’s not what I find. Mostly accountants. And when you’re doing taxes, they’re like, hand me the forms and we fill them out for you. So like you have to do all the work, you get all download all the forms, from everything. You have your W2 and your capital gains and statements from your brokerage and stuff, and you hand it all over. And then what they do is they literally fill out the forms for you and they’re like, okay, great. You’re getting a thousand dollars refund, or you owe 1500 bucks, but they’re not telling you like what to do this year. What should you do going forward? So don’t get caught in oh yeah, I gotta do my taxes anyway. This will come up. No, it won’t come up. Download the checklist, check it out for yourself, and make sure that you’re on top of all of these things. Again, it can be really fast, 30 minute exercise just to run through it and see if anything comes up for you that you need to dig into a little further.

Track 1:00:25:17

what I would also just pile on top of that is you may not work with Mike. Not everyone can. You may not work with Mike. You may not work with a financial planner. Here’s an easy hack schedule time with your spouse or with someone where you just literally sit down and do this, put it on your schedule, put it on your calendar that which gets scheduled, gets done. This is one where the to-do list isn’t quite sufficient. And then I would just focus on that first one. Just focus on that first one about your goals. You’ve done the look back. Now turn it into smart goals, realistic. Timeframe associated with it, and measurable. And then you can pick and choose from the checklist. Just run down it, see which here jump out to you as, Ooh that’s one that I really don’t wanna miss out on ’cause there’s a big payback to it.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:26:10

Perfect.

Track 1:00:26:11

Perfect. Alright, we’re out of here. I’m gonna go have my fridge tell me that I’m a slob. That’ll be,

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:26:17

that it’s time for, ice

Track 1:00:26:18

it’s time for, it’s always time for ice cream. All right. For Mike Morton and Matt Robeson, we will see you next time.

mike_1_01-08-2024_115110:00:26:23

Thanks, Matt.

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