2023 Year-End Personal Finance Checklist | WT Wealth Management White Paper

Welcome to the 2023 edition of the Year-End Personal Finance Checklist from WT Wealth Management (WTWM). While you may recognize and hopefully remember many of the reminders below, we have made some important updates to IRS limits on tax-advantaged retirement savings accounts. Checking off a few of these points will leave you more organized and better financially prepared for the year ahead. So, without further ado, see below for WTWM's top 10 year-end personal finance to-dos.

  1. Fund tax-advantaged retirement savings accounts.

    • Roth IRA - The 2023 contribution limit for a Roth IRA is the lesser of $6,500 ($7,500 if you're age 50 or older), up $500 from 2022, or your earned income for the year. The deadline to contribute is April 15th, regardless of whether you file an extension. Roth IRAs are not tax deductible, but grow tax-free, are not subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs) and can be withdrawn tax-free beginning the year you turn 59 ½. The income limits for contributing to a Roth IRA also increased:

      Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)
      Contribution limits for married filing jointly are per person. Reduced contributions are presented for illustrative purposes. See IRS Publication 590-A to calculate your reduced contribution based on you Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI).

    • Traditional IRA - Traditional IRAs have the same annual contribution limit and deadline as Roth IRAs. Unlike Roths, contributions to Traditional IRAs may be tax deductible depending on whether you are covered by a retirement plan at work and below certain adjustable gross income (AGI) thresholds. Traditional IRAs grow tax-free but are subject to RMDs at a certain age and distributions are taxed as income.

    • 401(k), 403(b) plans and SIMPLE IRAs – If eligible for deductions in the 2023 tax year, contributions must be made by December 31st. Each plan type has specific contribution limit rules. Consult your Plan Administrator to learn more about your retirement plan. If your employer offers a matching contribution, it is usually a good idea to contribute at least that amount if you are able.

    • Solo 401(k)s - Must be established by December 31st to make contributions to the plan in the current year. The Solo 401(k) contribution deadline for employees is December 31st, 2023. Employer Solo 401(k) contributions are accepted until your tax-filing deadline for the tax year, including extensions.

    • Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Plans - Must be established by the tax-filing deadline of the business (April 15th, plus extensions) and contributions made by the same deadline.

    Remember, the earlier you fund, the earlier your savings start working for you.

  2. Consider tax-loss harvesting.
    Realized capital gains for the year can possibly be offset with losses. Though the market, as measured by the S&P 500, is up for the year as of the date of this writing, there may be tax loss harvesting opportunities on individual holdings in your portfolio worth considering. Currently, the IRS limits $3,000 in losses to be deducted on your tax return. Losses beyond that can be carried forward to future years.

  3. Ensure you've made your annual Required Minimum Distribution (if applicable).
    The IRS requires owners of most retirement account types to take annual RMDs (e.g. Traditional IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, Traditional 401(k)s, etc.), if you are age 73 or older (but potentially before that if you have an inherited IRA, for example). The RMD amount is calculated by a formula developed by the IRS and is generally taxable as income. The rules for RMDs on inherited IRAs are different and more complex. If unsure regarding the applicability, amount, timing, etc. of RMDs, we recommend consulting your Financial Advisor.

  4. Consider a Roth Conversion.
    Converting a Traditional IRA or a legacy 401(k) to a Roth IRA may be a smart move. You will have to pay taxes on the converted amount now (which can be handled through the IRA account), but the amount converted will then grow tax free and never be taxed again.

  5. Consult a tax professional.
    The U.S. tax code is complex and constantly changing. Scheduling an appointment with a tax professional before year-end and prior to key tax deadlines may help you identify ways you can reduce your tax liability. The types of deductions and how to document them are a common topic of confusion (e.g. automobile mileage, meals, travel, gift, home office expenses, etc.) and we strongly recommend consulting a tax professional for advice prior to making any claims.

  6. Review your Estate Plan (or create one if you haven't yet!).
    Estate planning documents should be reviewed and updated for any new or changed life circumstances that may affect the plan. This can include when a key person in the estate plan (e.g. a successor, trustee, agent in any of the powers of attorney, etc.) passes away or otherwise becomes unavailable or if there is a death or birth that would change your wishes as to the current distribution scheme.

    Estate planning is often thought of as an unpleasant task you do once in retirement or when your health begins to deteriorate. In fact, it is a wise decision to start thinking about estate planning as soon as possible, regardless of your health or wealth.

    Contact your estate planning attorney for a review or for an initial consultation if you are looking to get the estate planning process started.

  7. Pay it forward, consider a charitable contribution.
    Making an active investment in kindness and goodwill can make a difference in someone's life, as well as your own. Talk to your tax professional to understand available tax incentives for charitable donations. Ask about state-specific tax credits available for individual taxpayers. Ask your Financial Advisor about Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) to learn more about how DAFs could be tax-smart and simple giving solution for you. In addition, they can be a valuable wealth-planning tool to allow for more strategic giving to the charity of your choice, and to help reduce your taxes at the same time. There are many options, so speak with your Financial Advisor to find the charitable structure that is right for you.

  8. Health-check your budget.
    Assess your income and your spending over the past year. It's not what you make, it's what you keep that builds wealth.

    • Check in on your service providers - Most service providers do not expect customers to notice slow and steady rate increases. Call to confirm you are getting the best rates possible. Search the competition. There may be better deals out there.

    • Review your subscriptions - Most of us amass more digital subscriptions than we truly want or need. Take a moment to look through and unsubscribe from those that do not add real value to your life. While you're at it, review those of your children. Undoubtedly, you may be paying for more subscriptions than you need, and they add up!

  9. Health-check yourself.
    Nothing hits a budget like unexpected or preventable medical expenses. Make appointments to check in. Health is wealth!

  10. Put your extra money to work.
    If you have extra funds at year-end, put them to work by adding to your investment portfolio. As the old investment adage goes – The best time to invest was yesterday, the next best time is now.

For help or questions about any of these items please contact your Advisor.

This check list will remain featured on www.wtwealthmanagement.com for your review.

Our team at WT Wealth Management is here to help so, that when the new year comes, your financial affairs are one worry you can cross off your list!


There are no warranties implied.
Any opinions expressed on this website are the opinions of WT Wealth Management and its associates only. Material listed on this website is neither an offer to buy or sell securities nor should it be interpreted as personal financial advice. You should always seek out the advice of a qualified investment professional before deciding to invest. Investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETF’s carry certain specific risks and part or all of your account value can be lost.

At WT Wealth Management we strongly suggest having a personal financial plan in place before making any investment decisions including understanding your personal risk tolerance and having clearly outlined investment objectives.

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