News and Commentary

It is Time for a Financial Checkup? by Scott Montgomery, CLU, ChFC

As if the new tax laws that went into effect in January 2018 were not enough to jolt investors to review their estate plans, the recent market swings and continued political uncertainty should be a final warning bell that investors should take action. Mitigating risks and preparing portfolios and estate plans for whatever the future may hold requires investors to meet with their financial advisers on a regular basis, and especially mid-year, to ensure that long-term plans remain on track. Here’s a checklist of topics to consider:

Are my investments still aligned with my long-term goals?

Whether saving for retirement, a child’s college education or a future vacation home, investors’ long-term goals should always be considered before reacting to market swings. A mid-year review of an investment portfolio provides an opportunity to assess recent asset performance against historic trends and future market outlook, and identify whether the asset mix continues to meet the investor’s time horizon and risk tolerance. Perhaps an asset rebalancing is needed to stay on track.

Is my estate plan up to date?

Life events, such as changes to marital status, death of a spouse or birth of a child, can affect financial plans. These events may trigger a change in assets and income and/or require updates to wills and trusts, insurance policies, retirement plans, beneficiaries and a rebalancing of portfolio investments.

Am I making good use of all of the investing tools available to me?

Financial advisors are excellent sources to assess an individual’s current financial position and provide recommendations on how he or she may better allocate assets for maximum savings, wealth preservation and tax-efficiency. Is the investor contributing to a tax-advantaged retirement plan or health savings account? Is he or she saving for a child’s education through a 529 plan? Has the investor established a special needs trust to safeguard assets and allocate money for the continuous care of special-needs children without jeopardizing those children’s eligibility for need-based government aid? Does the investor have ample insurance to protect family members in the event he or she passes away? Is the investor using life insurance in the most beneficial manner to meet his or her goals?

Am I maximizing tax savings opportunities?

A mid-year financial check-up provides an opportunity for investors to forecast their tax liabilities for the year and identify strategies to help them minimize their tax bill for the end of the year. This is even more critical in 2018 with the new laws in effect. Additionally, the middle of the year is a good time for taxpayers to take an inventory of their tax and financial records, including receipts for donations and business expenses, copies of estimated tax payments and confirmations of investments and stock sales. Keep them organized in a safe and easily accessible location. Documents that are scanned and stored electronically should be password-protected and backed up on external drives or in the cloud.

About the Author: Scott Montgomery, CLU, ChFC, is a director with Provenance Wealth Advisors, an Independent Registered Investment Advisor affiliated with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants, and a registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services. For more information, call (954) 712-8888 or email info@provweath.com.

Provenance Wealth Advisors (PWA), 515 E. Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 712-8888.

Scott Montgomery is a registered representative of and offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.

Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants. PWA is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment Advisory Services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc., and Provenance Wealth Advisors.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of the advisors of PWA and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or guarantee against loss.

 

Please note, changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have a substantial impact on each person’s situation. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. This information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.


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