The end of the year presents an opportunity to close the chapter on one period of life and start anew. The same thing applies to your finances. Here are three moves investors should consider before year-end.

1. Consider year-end stock donations. If you intend to donate to charitable organizations, consider how much to gift in order to receive tax benefits. If you're able to itemize your deductions and you’ve held an appreciated stock for more than one year, you could consider donating it to the charity directly. Your charitable deduction will be recognized at fair market value (subject to certain AGI limitations), and you avoid paying capital gains tax on the appreciation. The charity you gift the stock to will benefit by gaining an asset it can sell for cash or keep for the future.

2. Schedule a portfolio checkup. If you have a Financial Advisor, schedule a year-end meeting to review your current financial standing, goals, and the implications of pending economic changes.

  • If you haven’t already, make your Financial Advisor aware of life events that took place over the course of the year, including marriage, divorce, births, deaths, starting a business, taking a new job, and buying or selling property.
  • Discuss how to help ensure that your portfolio is aligning toward your financial goals — new and existing — and managing risk.
  • Ask your Financial Advisor how he or she views changes to the economy and how that may impact your investment recommendations. For example, potential interest rate increases have the potential to impact several asset classes, including Treasuries, bond markets, and stocks, especially for companies significantly impacted by changes in interest rates.

3. Focus on your retirement savings. If you’ve changed jobs or retired, talk with your Financial Advisor about the options for your savings in your qualified employer sponsored retirement plan (QRP), such as a 401(k), 403(b), or governmental 457(b). Check on the year-to-date status of your retirement contributions to confirm that you have maximized your annual tax benefits.

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