Natali Morris Blog
December 18, 2017
I’ve been keeping our chiropractor busy trying to spend the rest of our 2017 Flexible Savings Account (FSA) money. I even had the baby adjusted because infants can get stiff neck from crawling with their head looking up. But I digress.
We have just a few days to make sure we’ve made the most of our money this year so listen up! I’m about to give you a few reminders in the spirit of those goals. I’m sure you don’t need any other items on your to-do list around the holidays but if you do even a few of these, you’ll be glad that you did!
- Speak to your CPA and/or wealth planners posthaste! Our tax advisers at ProVision Wealth begin asking for year-end projections in November and I recieved the annual “time is of the essence to make these changes” call last week. This year was a doozy and I had a small scotch after hanging up. If your CPA does not ask for your financials before the end of the year, you are missing out on many opportunities! May be time to think of upgrading your tax advisors in 2018. Here are some things they might tell you to do in order to minimize taxation in April:
- Can you pay your state taxes in this calendar year? Yes I know the GOP may take the wind out of the advantage of this tactic but we are playing the system as it is and as it is, your state and property taxes are a deduction on your federal taxes. Since you have to pay those anyway, pay now and take the deduction that you can in 2017.
- Can you make any capital expenditure purchases in 2017? Do you need a new computer? A new tablet? If these are business expenses on the horizon, make them now and deduct on your taxes!
- Can you make any charitable donations? Do it now if you are so inclined! Those are also deductions!
- Can you pay for your wealth and legal services now? You have to pay them anyway so make sure you take advantage of having those expenses on your 2017 books!
- Maximize your retirement account contributions. I’m not a fan of the traditional over the Roth retirement accounts because I want to pay tax on the seed and not the crop. Still, max out your contributions because this is an opportunity to build those accounts as well as a possible tax deduction on your money. Same goes for 529s and other annual-limit savings accounts.
- Take a look at your insurance premiums and try to pay them early. Depending on your employment situation, some or all of your insurance premiums may be deductible. If you pay for your own health insurance, the premiums are deductible. If you use your car for your own small business, those premiums are also deductible. If you have a small business, your business insurance is deductible. Many companies allow you to break up your premium payments over the course of a few months but if you have an outstanding bill, try to pay it early so that you take that deduction this year on something you have to pay anyway in the near future.
- Review education expenses. Preschool and daycare costs for young children are a tax deduction. Some of your child’s college tuition also qualifies for a tax credit. Some of your advanced study for your career may also qualify for a tax credit. If you’ve got bills to pay on that front, pay them now. If you want to consider continued education for yourself, look qualified purchases for that as well.
- Make a balance sheet! As the year closes, update your net worth calculations in your family balance sheet. I hit this point home a lot because I believe that the balance sheet is your financial journal and road map. It tells you where you’ve been and informs where you want to go. We make all of our decisions based on the balance sheet, maximizing every line item, one-by-one. I am going to write A LOT about building wealth from the balance sheet in 2018 so if you’re with me on this journey, have yours at the ready! I have a free template for you to get started. You may download here:
My husband Clayton and I have been prepping to close out this year for weeks. We are also preparing our real estate investments for tax time, which we discuss on a recent podcast.
I was one of those students that loved new pencils and notebooks every September. Organizing my file folders and making new labels is my adult version of that high. Maybe that is not fun for you but I have one more bonus suggestion in the spirit of wealth building with joy: Find a ritual around wealth building that you do enjoy and make it an annual tradition.
My husband and I get a babysitter and go alone to an old inn for dinner every winter break. We sit by a large fireplace with stiff holiday cocktails and allow the atmosphere to dull our inhibitions. Then we dream big! We set goals and discuss strategies. This is my favorite year-end tradition and as I look back over the years since we began, I can see how effective it has been. We built a lot in 2017 and I have big plans for all of us in 2018. That includes you! Yes YOU!