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March 02, 2020 | Posted in:

Conduct a Financial Review at Tax Time

Tax filing time is an ideal time to annually review your financial affairs. You have to gather information to prepare your tax return at this time. Why not take one more step and do something positive for your financial well-being?

The following seven suggestions will get you started on your tax time financial review:

Decide on Your Goals

Hold a discussion with your family. Spouses and children need to share and prioritize their financial aspirations.

  • Write down your financial goals. How much money will you need to meet each goal? When will you need the money, and how will you get it?
  • Construct a net worth statement (a list of your assets and debts), and compare it to last year’s statement. Are you gaining or losing ground?
  • With your goals (and the effects of inflation) in mind, review the performance of your savings and investments.

Are you Protected?

Take steps to protect what you already have. Goals may become instantly unobtainable if you lose your present assets or your income potential.

  • Do you have adequate disability insurance coverage to replace take-home pay if you become incapacitated?
  • Do you have enough life insurance if you or your spouse should die?
  • Do you have replacement value property insurance on your home?
  • Do you have adequate insurance for calamities such as automobile accidents or lawsuits? Note: Make sure that you need all of the insurance that you have. Do not duplicate employer-provided coverage. Review your coverage annually; do not just automatically renew policies.

Update Your Withholding

Is your tax bill this year higher than you anticipated or was your refund lower than you would have wanted? It may be time to revisit your paycheck withholdings so you can be on track for tax season 2020. The IRS recently updated the W4 Form and withholding tables, and if you haven’t updated yours in 2020, do so now.

Think of Your Future

Did your situation change during the year (marriage, divorce, births, deaths, move to another state, for example)? If so, make appropriate changes to your will and estate plan, including updating your beneficiary designations.

Evaluate Your Spending History

Keep your credit card bills current. If you’re finding that hard to do, it’s probably time to cut up some of those credit cards and get your debt under control. Make it a goal to not live beyond your means and set a budget for the rest of 2020 that will keep your unnecessary spending down, while also paying down debt.

Organize your Records

If you had trouble assembling data for your financial review in a timely manner, you need a better system. Time for some spring cleaning and to set one up. Your future self will thank you!

For assistance on what to keep and what to shred, download Alloy Silverstein’s Record Retention Guide. If you need a template for documenting your financial accounts for your loved ones, download our Personal Financial Organizer.

Consult with your CPA

Your accountant and advisor is much more than a tax return preparer. Talk to them about your financial goals and expectations and whether it’s estate planning, record retention, budgeting, or Form W-4, your accountant can advise you going forward.

 

Contact an Alloy Silverstein Accountant and Advisor for a financial review.

Author:

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