8 quick tips for year-end financial planning

Original article written by Forbes.

1. Assess your 2017 plan progress.
Look at any areas of your 2017 written financial plan that you have not yet accomplished and endeavour to complete them in the remaining months, or include them in your 2018 plan.

2. Review your current cash flow.
Take a deeper look at what you are spending your money on each month and determine what opportunities there are to find “painless savings”. You may even find some easy ways to save a few extra rands for your long-term goals.

3. Calculate your asset allocation.
The run-up in stocks may have increased your stock allocation and you may hold more risk than you are comfortable with. If so, look at making some reallocations – and don’t forget to consider the tax implications of any move inside a taxable account.

4. Estimate if you are on track to maximize your retirement contributions.
Try not to miss any valuable tax deductions; this is a great time of year for retirement top ups, especially with year-end bonuses.

5. Talk with your tax and financial advisors.
Explore other ways to save on your tax liability. There may still be time to act, but time is running out!

6. Check your Tax Free Savings Account.
You can only contribute R33 000 per year to a Tax Free Savings Account and you cannot back date the payments. Ensure that you are using this facility to maximise your tax efficiency.

7. Review your estate planning.
Each year we should really take the time to review our wills and general estate planning. Your year may have changed your estate planning more than you thought and taking the time to engage the topic will prevent it from running ahead of you in the future.

8.  Consider what life changing events you may face in the new year.
For example: if your employer is struggling, planning job cuts, or if you are considering a job change, do you have enough liquidity on hand while you look for a new position? If you are buying a new home, are there steps you can take now to improve your credit rating? Or, if you have unexpected medical expenses how will you meet what is potentially a high deductible in your health insurance policy?

The financial planning process is continual and never ending. Reviewing year-to-date progress and anticipating future needs can lead to better results. Use this year-end period to assess your current situation and identify future planning opportunities.