As we approach the close of another year, now is the perfect time to review your financial portfolio and make sure you are prepared for the potentially volatile market that the New Year will bring. This has become particularly important this year given all of the recent instability we have seen in the markets along with the current global uncertainty. In this article, we are going to look at some of the key considerations for a comprehensive year-end portfolio review.
Review Your Goals/Risk Tolerance
A common misconception is that portfolio reviews are all about numbers and performance. One of the most critical parts of reviewing your investments is making sure they align with your goals and risk tolerance. You also need to recognize that everyone has a different financial situation as well as a portfolio to match. So, even though your friends might be 100% in the stock market, that does not necessarily mean it is a right fit for you. It also becomes more important as your life continues to change. Your prior investment portfolio might not reflect your new situation as you have a child, approach retirement, or find a nice vacation home you would like to purchase. Take this opportunity to revisit your financial goals and risk tolerance to ensure your investment portfolio is working with you and not against you.
Once you have reviewed your current situation, now is the time to reset your investment portfolio. This rebalance is very important to look at on a periodic basis due to the potential disparities in return rates between the various asset classes. For example, if you have a 50% stock and 50% bond portfolio, that 50% of stock is hopefully going to grow at a much higher rate than the bonds. If you were to look at this portfolio after several years without touching it, this portfolio could easily be at a 70% stock and 30% bond allocation. Make sure to take the time to rebalance your investment accounts and make sure you aren’t overly aggressive or overly conservative with your portfolio.
As we get closer to the end of the year, we also start running out of time to take advantage of some key tax benefits. One major component of this are your retirement contributions and making sure you are putting as much away for retirement as you can. It is important to do this often since most people set their contribution percentages through their payroll. This percentage can quickly become inaccurate as your salary changes or the contribution limits change. Another major deadline at the end of the year is for your required minimum distributions (RMDs). If these are not taken before year end, you can incur some significant penalties. Other strategies consist of qualified charitable distributions (QCDs), Roth conversions, and tax-loss harvesting. Limitations and rules apply for these strategies. By reviewing your portfolio for tax strategies, you could save yourself tax dollars or save yourself from any unnecessary fees.
As we wrap up another year, make sure you are entering 2024 with confidence that your investment portfolio aligns with your financial situation. Also, make sure to take advantage of some of the strategies to lower your tax bill as we approach the dreaded tax deadline. If you have any questions or need any help reviewing your investment portfolio, please call us at 800-936-3785 or email [email protected]. We pride ourselves on offering comprehensive financial planning that involves active investment management, retirement planning, tax preparation/planning, and all of the essential areas of financial planning.