Impact Advisors Group | Duxbury Massachusetts | Warrington Pennsylvania
Issues to Consider at the Start of the New Year

Issues to Consider at the Start of the New Year


The start of the new year is a great time for a financial check-up. In addition to reflecting back on the prior year, you may be particularly motivated in January to consider making financial resolutions for the future.

To help you make a fresh start this year, we have created the following checklist. It covers fundamental considerations, including:

  • Personal Issues
  • Cash Flow Issues
  • Asset and Debt Issues
  • Tax Issues
  • Insurance Issues
  • Legal Issues


Do you need to assess the progress you made toward your goals last year?

If so, consider the following:

  • Review and compare your financial models, comparing a snapshot of where you are today to last year and/or a prior time.
  • Inventory your recent accomplishments to identify what strategies worked well.

Have you identified new goals for this year or the future?

If so, assign a priority and time horizon, and incorporate them into your overall plan.

Are there any life events that are likely to occur for yourself or your immediate family this year (e.g., move, marriage, birth, higher education, job change, retirement, illness, death)?

Do you need to confirm whether you or any family members will reach a milestone age this year?

If so, reference the “Important Milestones” guide.

Are you concerned about any variables or circumstances that could potentially impact your plans for this year?


Do you expect your household income and/or expenses to change materially this year?

Do you need to review your cash flow plan?

If so, evaluate your actual income and expenses, and adjust your spending plan as necessary.

Do you need to review your employee benefits to ensure that you are taking advantage of what your employer offers?

If so, consider maxing out annual contributions to any retirement accounts, Health Savings Account, Flexible Spending Account, and/or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account.

Are you able to contribute to an IRA?

If so, consider the following:

  • Fund a Roth IRA, make deductible contributions to a traditional IRA, or make after-tax contributions to a traditional IRA, depending upon your eligibility.
  • If you are married and your spouse does not have earned income, explore spousal IRA options.

Do you need to confirm that you are adequately saving toward your goals?

If so, review your target savings and funding rates. If you fully fund some goals early in the year, continue saving toward other goals.

Do you have funds left in your FSA from last year?

If so, consider spending such funds before the expiration of any grace period.

Are you subject to taking RMDs (including from inherited IRAs)?

If so, consider the following:

  • If you are charitably inclined and age 70½ or older, you can do a QCD to satisfy your RMD. Note the “first dollars out” rule.
  • Time the satisfaction of your RMD to support your goals, and be sure to review your withholdings.

Do you make annual gifts?

If so, make a plan to fund strategically, and track the use of your annual exclusion amount for noncharitable gifts.


Do you need to adjust or replenish your emergency fund?

Are you planning to buy or sell business, personal, or real property this year?

Do you need to review your investment risk tolerance?

Do you need to review the performance of your investment accounts?

Do you need to rebalance your investment portfolio or otherwise adjust your asset allocation?

If so, consider the following:

  • Be sure to consider the tax consequences and trade strategically.
  • If you made any trades last year that were meant to be short-term (e.g., due to tax loss harvesting or to avoid capital gain distributions), revisit your strategy and reposition as necessary.

Do you need to review your asset location across the accounts in your portfolio?

If so, consider holding tax-efficient investments in taxable accounts, and tax-inefficient investments in tax-preferred accounts.

If you have a mortgage, should you explore refinancing?

Are there debts that you would like to eliminate this year?

If so, strategically target debts with the least favorable terms first.

Are you a co-signer/guarantor on any loans/agreements?

If so, check in with the other interested parties to confirm the terms, payment history, current status, etc.

Will you potentially need to borrow funds this year?

Do you need to review your credit report/score?

Do you need to freeze your credit?


Do you need to collect tax forms and organize other documents in preparation for filing income tax returns for last year?

If so, use last year’s filings and/or a tax organizer to begin to gather all information necessary for filing Form 1040 and any state returns.

Did you make taxable gifts, or do you want to split gifts for last year?

If so, collect documentation necessary for filing Form 709.

Would Roth conversions be beneficial this year?

Did you fail to make an IRA contribution for the prior tax year, but would you like to do so?

If so, you have until Tax Day (excluding extensions) this year to make a contribution for last year.

Do you own investments in taxable accounts that are likely to make capital gains or income distributions (e.g., certain mutual funds and ETFs)?

If so, consider your cost basis and whether it might be advantageous to sell in advance of such distributions.

Do you need to review your unrealized gains and losses and create a harvesting strategy?


Do you expect any changes with regard to your health or medical treatments?

If so, consider reviewing your health insurance coverage and alternate options.

Do you need to review your life insurance coverage?

Do you need new or increased disability insurance coverage?

Is it time to explore (or review existing) LTC insurance?

Have you made any improvements to your property or acquired new valuables?

If so, consider reviewing your property insurance (homeowners, renters, etc.), increasing coverage and/or adding riders as appropriate.


Do you need to review your estate plan?

Do you need to review the titling/ownership of your assets?

Are you, or will you be, serving as a fiduciary?

If so, consider the following:

  • Review your duties and your performance to ensure that you are upholding applicable standards.
  • If you are an Executor or Trustee of an irrevocable trust, consider whether a distribution and election under the 65-Day Rule would be prudent.

Have any new laws gone into effect that might impact your financial plan?

If so, consider how your saving strategies, income tax situation, estate plan, etc. might have been affected and what steps might be necessary.

Are you subject to any new contracts/agreements, or did any such arrangements expire?

If you own a business, are there any changes on the horizon this year?

Are there any state-specific issues to consider?

This checklist was prepared and first distributed by fp PATHFINDER.

Impact Advisors Group LLC (“[IAG]”) is a registered investment advisor offering advisory services in the State of Massachusetts and in other jurisdictions where exempted. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. The information on this site is not intended as tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as an endorsement of any company, security, fund, or other securities or non-securities offering. This information should not be relied upon as the sole factor in an investment making decision. Past performance is no indication of future results. Investment in securities involves significant risk and has the potential for partial or complete loss of funds invested. It should not be assumed that any recommendations made will be profitable or equal any performance noted on this site. The information on this site is provided “AS IS” and without warranties of any kind either express or implied. To the fullest extent permissible pursuant to applicable laws, Impact Advisors Group disclaims all warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability, non-infringement, and suitability for a particular purpose. IAG does not warrant that the information on this site will be free from error. Your use of the information is at your sole risk. Under no circumstances shall IAG be liable for any direct, indirect, special or consequential damages that result from the use of, or the inability to use, the information provided on this site, even if IAG or a IAG authorized representative has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Information contained on this site should not be considered a solicitation to buy, an offer to sell, or a recommendation of any security in any jurisdiction where such offer, solicitation, or recommendation would be unlawful or unauthorized.
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