Wow! Where has 2019 gone? There are only two months left—the busiest two months of the year with the holidays in full swing. The funny thing is that most people try to cram everything they intended to do all year into this hectic, compact time-frame. I guess the old adage is true—done beats perfect every time.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had someone to go through your list, prioritize, organize and get you through it? Moreover, what if they could tell you the things that could hold off until January? What would this do to your stress level? Would it allow you to focus more on what the holiday season is really about?
Good News! You can have that when it comes to managing your Life Planning. Our name is Kennedy Financial Services. All you have to do is ask. Now, I know. I set you up on that one. This, of course, is the optimal route, but to be honest, that may not even be possible this year. We have appointments booked far into December. But you are still in luck - we’d like to offer you some generic nuggets of advice. Here are the top five planning priorities for the rest of the year:
#5…Don’t spend money…That is not a joke, but it is a pun. Most business owners have learned the trick that to lower taxes—spend money. Well, that might not be the wisest move during Tax Reform Years. This week, we were analyzing a successful business owner that was paying about $42,000 in taxes on every $100,000 he made prior to tax reform. His rule of thumb was to go buy something. Thanks to Tax Reform and a little planning, his tax liability is less than half of what it was. He kept over $80,000 in his pocket and met his goal to fund his children’s education without spending a dime.
#4…Master your healthcare needs…This is a pain point for many pocketbooks. The good news is that most likely you have options. The bad news is that the market is so complex hardly anyone can understand it. But don’t let that be the reason you don’t do something about it. After all, every dollar saved could have a tremendous impact on your life’s goals. We just helped a company cut their healthcare cost almost in half while helping them achieve what they really wanted to give their employees. Remember--open enrollment for Medicare and Obamacare are in full swing and both end in early December.
#3…Give more or differently to charity…This is by far is a statement that cannot be generalized, but I need it to get your attention. The filing statistics show that charitable deductions for 2018 are down over 111 billion dollars from 2017 through the July filing season. 1. The doubling of the standard deduction is the primary culprit here. It came as a surprise to many of the families we work with that their contributions to charity were no longer deductible. But there might be a way to get some or all of them back…It just takes a little planning. For one particular family, this meant a tax savings of more than $10,000 in 2019 alone.
#2…Plan Now or Pay Later…We wrote an article in September titled Will Tax Reform End Early? Doing nothing means you could be taking the risk of paying more tax in the future. There is a laundry list in this article that will give you some thought as to what you need to consider. In 2019 alone, we have worked with families to save millions of dollars in income and estate tax. Just remember—the clock is ticking and every year that goes by opportunity disappears.
#1…Enrich your legacy… Frank Mullins of Legacy Wealth Counselors explains a legacy as a family balance sheet that is made up of various capital—human, intellectual, financial, social and spiritual. Listen to our podcast with him here. Everyone focuses on the financial aspect of their legacy, but they forget to focus on what really matters—everything else. We call these the wealth preservers. What better time of year than the holiday season to make the wealth preservers your focus? What can you do to enrich your legacy?
Pablo Picasso said, Action is the foundational key to all success. I guess that means that failure could simply be the result of inaction. Imagine we are sitting here one year from today. It is November 2020. What will be on your list to get done before the end of the year? Will it be the same things that are on there today and maybe even more? Will you be overwhelmed or stressed even more? Or will your list seem a lot less daunting? Will you have clarity? Will your progress over the past year give you confidence? The choice is yours and it boils down to one word…ACTION. Take it or don’t.