As the year comes to a close, I hope you have been following your holiday budget and have already started to save for next year’s holiday season.
As you prepare for the new year, now is a good time to create a financial plan to help meet your financial goals.
To help with your planning, here are 10 simple financial planning and tax saving strategies to consider in 2022:
1. Maximize Health Savings Account (HSA) Contributions
For 2022, you can contribute up to $3,650 for individual coverage and up to $7,300 for family coverage into an HSA. Remember that an HSA is not a “use or lose it” benefit. If you do not need to withdraw from your HSA for current medical expenses, you can allow the account to accumulate. You may consider investing the money to provide it a chance to grow until your retirement. Quick tip—A great way to generate tax-free income in early retirement is to withdraw from the HSA for prior year medical expenses. Be sure to keep detailed records.
2. Optimize Your 401(k)
For the first time since 2018, the IRS increased 401(k) and 403(b) contribution limits. You can contribute up to $20,500 for 2022. The catch-up contribution for participants aged 50 and older remains unchanged at $6,500. If cash flow does not allow you to maximize contributions, consider increasing your contribution rate from 1% to 2% for the upcoming year. If you have not rebalanced your portfolio over the past year, it has likely drifted away from its target allocation. Now is the time to rebalance it back to target, so your portfolio is not taking on more (or less) risk than you are willing to take.
3. Develop a Tax Payment Strategy
If you are paying federal estimated taxes in 2022, monitor your tax payments. This will help you ensure that you exceed 90% of your 2022 estimated liability or 100% (or 110% for certain taxpayers) of your 2021 tax liability to avoid underpayment penalties. Remember, estimated tax payments are due quarterly and those dates are:
- April 18, 2022
- June 15, 2022
- September 15, 2022
- January 16, 2023
4. Fund Charitable Giving in 2022 with Appreciated Stock
If you make charitable contributions, consider gifting highly appreciated stock in lieu of cash. A gift of appreciated stock is an itemized tax deduction, and the charitable organization will not have to pay tax on the capital gain. You can then repurchase the stock with the cash you would have otherwise donated as an effective way to raise the cost basis in your portfolio.
5. Protect Your Wealth with an Umbrella Policy
Umbrella insurance protects against liability claims above and beyond the amount covered by your automobile and homeowners’ coverage. Depending on your coverage, umbrella policies are relatively inexpensive and provide peace of mind.
6. Execute an Estate Plan
Estate planning is by far the most forgotten area of financial planning. It is also one of the greatest pitfalls of personal wealth. Passing away without a will is known as “dying intestate,” and as a result, you may not end up providing what you would have wanted for your loved ones. You can prevent this by having documents drafted that reflect your wishes. While you are estate planning, you can also integrate charitable giving as part of your plan.
7. Give with a Warm and Generous Hand
If you are fortunate enough to have surplus wealth, consider making financial gifts to loved ones. For 2022, you may gift $16,000 per person to as many people as you like without being subject to gift tax and IRS filings. This reduces the value of your estate while providing an immediate benefit to others.
8. Consider Refinancing Your Mortgage
If you have not refinanced your mortgage in recent years, the window is still open as interest rates are still near historical lows. Refinancing is a great way to reduce interest charges and free up additional cash flow.
9. Protect Your Credit
Consider implementing a credit freeze with the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This can prevent fraudulent credit from being established through any of these agencies. A credit freeze is free and easy to do.
10. Search for Unclaimed Property
Consider performing a search for unclaimed property in your resident state and any states in which you previously lived. Approximately 1 in 10 people have unclaimed property. You can f do a search for your state at unclaimed.org.