May you all be awake now from your long winter’s nap. Here are some interesting facts and tips to get the new year off to a good start.
- 2018 is the first tax filing year under the new code. Don’t delay in getting your documents to your tax preparer this season. Many of you may be negatively affected by the tax changes and if you have a tax bill coming, you will want to know that sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, the Treasury Department blocked the creative strategy by high-tax states like California to classify their state income tax as a charitable contribution. Nice try, though.
- If you change jobs this year, pay attention to your 401(k). Employers are allowed to automatically transfer former employees’ small retirement account balances to the new employer’s 401(k) plans if employees don’t opt out. Generally, I’d rather have clients move 401(k) money to an IRA, but let’s talk before the money moves.
- New Medicare numbers and cards. If you are on Medicare, you will be receiving a new card with a new ID number, instead of your Social Security number, between now and April. This is a long-overdue safety measure.
- Credit freezes. Placing a credit freeze at Experian, TransUnion and Equifax for your credit identity can help prevent credit fraud. Credit freezes and unfreezes are now free, can be requested online or by phone and must take place within one business day. Yearlong fraud alerts are also available. If you have a child under 16, you might also consider placing a free freeze on his/her credit report to avoid child identity theft.
- Social Security checks will rise 2.8% with the cost of living. 2019 is the first year that Social Security will have to dip into its trust fund to meet benefits payments.
- Health Savings Account contributions have been increased to $3,500 for individuals and $7,000 for families. The $1,000 catch-up for those 55 and older remains the same. If you have an HSA, I generally recommend making the maximum contribution.
- Employer retirement plan contributions increased to $19,000 (this would be your 401(k) or 403(b), etc.), and the $6,000 catch-up remained the same. Generally, I recommend funding your employer’s plan up to “the match” and considering other alternatives for the remainder. If we need to talk about your plan, let’s do that.
- IRA contributions increased to $6,000, with an unchanged $1,000 catch-up for those 50 years old and older.
- Roth contribution income limits increased to $137,000 for single folks and $203,000 for married couples. If you can fund the Roth, I am generally a fan.
If you have any questions about how any of these situations might affect your planning, let’s connect — sooner rather than later.
Lanning Financial Inc. is a registered investment adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.