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Annual Financial To-Do List

Updated: Jun 19, 2021

What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for the coming year? Now is an excellent time to think about the investing, saving, or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives, from building your retirement fund to managing your taxes. You have plenty of choices. Here are a few ideas to consider:


Can you contribute more to your retirement plans this year?

In 2021, the contribution limit for a Roth or traditional individual retirement account (IRA) is expected to remain at $6,000 ($7,000 for those making “catch-up” contributions). Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) may affect how much you can put into a Roth IRA. With a traditional IRA, you can contribute if you (or your spouse if filing jointly) have taxable compensation. Still, income limits are one factor in determining whether the contribution is tax-deductible.


Remember, withdrawals from traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income, and if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty starting again in 2021. Roth IRA distributions must meet a five-year holding requirement and occur after age 59½ to qualify for tax-exempt and penalty-free withdrawal. Tax-free and penalty-free withdrawals from Roth IRAs can also be taken under certain other circumstances, such as a result of the owner’s death.


Keep in mind, this article is for informational purposes only and not a replacement for real-life advice. Also, tax rules are constantly changing, and there is no guarantee that the tax landscape will remain the same in the years ahead.



Make a charitable gift.

You can claim the deduction on your tax return, provided you follow the Internal Review Service (I.R.S.) guidelines and itemize your deductions with Schedule A. The paper trail is important here. If you give cash, you should consider documenting it. A bank record can demonstrate some contributions, payroll deduction records, credit card statements, or written communication from the charity with the date and amount. Incidentally, the I.R.S. does not equate a pledge with a donation. If you pledge $2,000 to a charity this year but only end up gifting $500, you can only deduct $500.


These are hypothetical examples and are not a replacement for real-life advice. Make certain to consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional before modifying your record-keeping approach or your strategy for making charitable gifts.