As we all find ourselves in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and buying those last few gifts, here are a few key strategies & reminders to help you maximize your finances before we close out 2021.
- Stocks or cash make great stocking stuffers. Stop racking your brain trying to find the right gift for that hard to shop for person in your life. Consider making a gift of stock or cash from your portfolio. Remember that you may give any person up to $15,000 a year without having to file a gift tax return ($30,000 for married couples), and you may give cash or appreciated securities. There are benefits to gifting appreciated securities to individuals who are in a lower tax bracket than you (kids and grandkids), and you will spark a legacy of investing for the next generation.
- Charitable giving makes the season merry. Charitable giving is a great way to have a lasting effect on the causes you are most passionate about while providing important tax benefits. You can give in several ways; writing a check, giving to your Donor Advised Fund, or gifting appreciated securities. As an additional benefit, by giving appreciated securities, you avoid paying capital gains tax on the sale of the security and also receive a tax deduction for the full fair market value of the gift.
- Don’t let unrealized losses become a lump of coal. 2021 was a great year for the market, but recent volatility may have created an opportunity for you to offset part of your gains with losses. Keep in mind that you can repurchase any securities you liquidate in 31 days and still realize the loss to help with your 2021 taxes. Don’t want to sit on cash for 31 days? Consider purchasing a similar security to hold during your waiting period to ensure you don’t incur a wash sale, but still, have access to that industry or sector.
- Make a child or grandchild’s future jolly with an educational investment account. In addition to federal tax benefits, many states offer state income tax deductions or credits for contributions to a 529 plan. Starting a plan or adding to it in time for the holidays is a great way to celebrate the season while preparing for your child or grandchild’s future K-12 private education or college. For example, in the state of Missouri, a working husband and wife can each contribute up to $8,000 and receive a state tax deduction on those dollars. For a married couple contributing $16,000 to a 529, they would save about $960 in Missouri state taxes. Keep in mind that tax benefits vary state by state.
- Take your Required Minimum Distribution or face the Grinch. If you have an IRA or qualified retirement plan and are 72 or older, or if you have inherited an IRA, you need to take a required minimum distribution by 12/31/21. The required distribution is based on the IRA’s 12/31/20 value and the IRS life expectancy tables. Failing to take an RMD on time can incur a hefty penalty. If you need help calculating your RMD or have questions on whether or not you have taken your distribution, make sure to talk to your advisor.
The holiday season should be filled with laughter, joy, and memory-making. Your wealth advisors are standing by to help make things right and wishing a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
by MISSY BROWN, CFP® CPWA®
Missy is a Principal and Senior Wealth Advisor at Mosaic Family Wealth. She oversees the firm’s retirement, estate, tax, and financial planning services. She serves high net worth families, helping them strategize and develop consensus around any situation involving a dollar sign.
Please note that nothing in this content should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any security or separate account. Nothing in this content is intended to be, and you should not consider anything in this content to be, investment, accounting, tax, or legal advice. If you would like investment, accounting, tax, or legal advice, you should consult with your own accountants or attorneys regarding your individual circumstances and needs.
Mosaic Family Wealth, LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Mosaic Family Wealth, LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure.