News & Insights

  • Financial Planning and Retirement Planning Checklist for 2019 & 2020

    Carrie Gallaway, CFP®, CeFt®
    November 2019


    What financial and family transitions are on the horizon?
    What can be celebrated?
    What’s worrying you?
    Your financial plan should address these questions.

    Our role as your financial advisor is to offer financial guidance, monitor and track changes with investments and help you plan for your goals. The more we know about your anticipated financial or family changes, as well as your goals, the more proactive we can be with planning.

    Many times we think of financial planning for major life events such as retirement, but don’t forget we help with planning for all life events; a career change, real estate purchase, private school tuition payments and medical caretaking situations. We will help you successfully navigate the personal and professional aspects that come with change.

    Check Flexible Spending Accounts in case you have money to spend. If relevant, check contributions to your Health Savings Accounts for 2019.


    Check and review your 401(k) contributions to ensure you are contributing the maximum salary deferral. For 401(k), Roth 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans the 2019 maximum salary deferral is $19,000. Participants age 50 and over may contribute an additional $6,000 per year. 2020 contribution limits increase to $19,500 for a 401(k) Roth 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans. The catchup contributions for participants age 50 and older was raised to $6,500.

    Maximize contributions to Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs for 2019. The deadline for 2019 is April 15, 2020. 2020 IRA contribution limits will remain at $6,000. Participants age 50 and over, can also make a catchup contribution of an additional $1,000.

    For those with self-employed income, discuss your retirement plan with us. A Defined Benefit Pension Plan, Individual or Solo 401(K) and Profit Share Plan, SEP IRA or SIMPLE IRA may be appropriate. The overall defined contribution plan limit for 2019 is $56,000 and will be raised to $57,000 for 2020. The deadline to open these types of plan differ, please speak with us as soon as possible to allow time for planning.

    ROTH IRAs are great for working teens. It’s never too early to save! Please encourage your children or grandchildren with earned income to speak with us about setting up and contributing to a ROTH IRA.


    If you’re making donations to charities, we recommend using highly appreciated stock in place of cash. Transferring stock to your charity allows you to avoid capital gains while still generating an income tax deduction. To ensure that charitable stock gifts are completed before year-end, we recommend that you send us your instructions no later than December 12th, 2019.

    If you have longer term philanthropic objectives or would benefit from a larger charitable deduction in 2019 (especially in light of the changes in tax laws and the standard deduction threshold), please consider establishing a donor advised fund. Contact us for more information and to discuss your personal situation. As a reminder, donations over $249 to charities require an acknowledgement from the charity and documentation must be kept regardless of the size of the donation.

    Qualified Retirement Distribution: If you are over age 70 ½ you may direct all or part of your required minimum distribution to a charity. Utilizing this strategy reduces your taxable income while allowing you to make a charitable donation or gift.


    Throughout the year we’ve been managing capital gains within portfolios held at YorkBridge and have been notifying you of these amounts. If by chance you hold assets outside of YorkBridge and realized gains this year, such as with regards to a private investment, company stock, or the sale of real estate, please let us know so we can offer guidance and plan with you and your tax advisor.

    January 15th, 2020 is the due date for 4th Quarter 2019 Estimated Tax Payment.

    Loans, Mortgages and Home Equity Lines of Credit: Year-end is a good time to review interest rates on any loans to determine if a refinance or other change is needed. Interest rates dropped this year which may present the opportunity for a refinance.


    The 2019 annual gift exclusion is $15,000 per individual and gifts must be made by December 31st, 2019. Checks to individuals must be cashed prior to December 31st. The 2020 gift exclusion will remain $15,000 per individual. Parents and grandparents may want to consider additional tax-free gifts in the form of direct payments for health insurance premiums, medical expenses, camp or school tuition. These payments must be made directly to the applicable institution to qualify for this unlimited exclusion.

    Review contribution amounts to 529 College Savings Plans and discuss front-loading the contributions to a new plan. A married couple can contribute as much as $150,000 in 2019.

    Review your estate plans with a qualified trust and estate attorney. The tax act of 2017 raised the federal estate tax level, but estate tax laws still vary by state and many people may have a state estate tax liability.

    In 2020, individuals will be able to gift or exclude from federal estate taxes a total of $11.58 million (up from $11.4 million in 2019). We recommend reviewing your last will and testament and discussing opportunities for gifting as the estate and gift tax threshold limits may change in the future.

    It is also important to review your power of attorney and healthcare proxy. It is critical that your estate documents reflect your current wishes.

    Finally, taxes are not the only reason for an estate plan. Asset protection and control are factors for consideration.

    The Information contained in this document is based on data received from third parties which we believe to be reliable and accurate. YorkBridge Wealth Partners, LLC has not independently verified the information and does not otherwise give any warranty as to the truth, accuracy, or completeness of such third party data, and it should not be relied upon as such. Any opinions expressed herein are our current opinions only. YorkBridge Wealth Partners, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”). Registration of an investment advisor does not imply any specific level of skill or training. The information contained in this document is to assist with general planning. Please consult with your own tax advisor and attorney for more specific information.
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