February 1, 2023

Navigating Year-End Financial Decisions

The end of the year is an opportune time for essential financial planning steps, especially amidst the holiday preparations. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Roth IRA Conversions: If you’ve considered Roth IRA conversions, act now. Reasons vary, from anticipating future tax hikes to easing the tax burden on heirs. Ensure timely completion as year-end approaches.
  • Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): If you’ve delayed your RMDs due to market fluctuations, reconsider now with the S&P’s recent rise. Remember, directing RMDs to charities can offer tax benefits.
  • Track Your Spending: Understand where your money goes. This year, with inflation concerns, it’s even more crucial. Whether you’re wealthy, modest, or in between, tracking expenses is vital for a comfortable retirement. Use tools like credit card summaries to help categorize expenses.

Find a method to track your expenses and stick to it. Proper financial management can ensure a successful retirement.

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Financial Planning Steps for the Year-End

The end of the year is a crucial time to review and adjust your financial strategies. Here are some insights and recommendations to consider:

  • Roth IRA Conversions: If you’ve been contemplating Roth IRA conversions, now is the time to act. The reasons for converting vary among individuals. Some prefer to pay taxes at current rates, anticipating future tax hikes. Others aim to reduce future mandatory distributions (RMDs) by paying taxes now and decreasing traditional IRA balances. Some wish to ease the tax burden on their heirs, while others simply want to settle their tax obligations and move on. Whatever your reason, act promptly as year-end approaches.
  • Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): If you haven’t taken your RMDs yet, it’s time to do so. Some might have delayed this due to market fluctuations, but with the S&P showing a recent upward trend, it’s a good time to reconsider. Remember, if you’re philanthropic, you can direct all or part of your RMD to a church or charity, making that amount tax-free.
  • Track Your Spending: Knowing where your money goes is vital, especially in retirement. This knowledge, more than future budgeting, is the key to a peaceful retirement. Those who don’t track their expenses either have substantial wealth or live very modestly. For those in between, tracking expenses is crucial. Review your debit card, checking account, and cash spending meticulously. Credit card summaries, available on most card websites, can help categorize your expenses.

In conclusion, find a method to track your expenses that you enjoy and stick to it. This discipline can mean the difference between a comfortable retirement and one where you must compromise your standard of living because you lost track of your finances.

Recipe of the Month

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Onions

A quick pickled onion recipe that’s perfect for tacos, grain bowls, sandwiches, and more. It lasts for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced or whole)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Thinly slice the onions. Place garlic, red pepper flakes, and onions in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. In a small saucepan over low to medium heat, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve (about 1-2 minutes).
  3. Pour this mixture into the jar with the onions. Let it cool to room temperature (about 10 minutes) and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Your pickled onions are ready!

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