New financial challenges and opportunities confront investors each year, but what’s not new is the optimal time to jump on many of these challenges and opportunities. Financial services firm Morningstar released a month-by-month guide of specific financial tasks to tackle in 2023 covering investments, retirement and taxes. Some of the tasks involve simply monitoring a particular aspect of your finances to see if a change or adjustment needs to be made; other tasks involve making a needed change or adjustment. Consider working with a financial advisor as you prepare to tune up or completely redo your investments, retirement planning and taxes.
First Quarter of 2023
The beginning of the year provides an opportunity for an overall assessment of your portfolio’s progress and your plans. Morningstar says that the “most successful investors consider their total opportunity sets – including not just investments but also debt paydown.”
The rest of the quarter can be used to check in with your tax professional and make sure you have received your 1099s and W-2s. If you got a cost-of-living raise or annual pay increase make sure you are adjusting contributions to tax-advantaged plans according.
Keep in mind that Jan. 17 is the last day to pay estimated taxes for the fourth quarter of 2022 if you are self-employed or retired and don’t have taxes withheld from your IRA withdrawals.
Second Quarter of 2023
April 18 is your deadline for filing your 2022 tax return, your deadline for funding an IRA for 2022 and the last day to make a contribution to a health savings account if you want your contribution to count for the 2022 tax year.
This quarter is also a prime time to make sure you have an adequate emergency fund. If you’re retired you,”will want to hold even more cash, in case one of their income sources is disrupted for some reason,” says Morningstar. “Knowing that their near-term income needs are covered can also help retirees ride out volatile times with their long-term portfolios.”
Remember that June 15 is the last day to make quarterly estimated tax payments.
Third Quarter of 2023
While there are no hard deadlines in July, August or September, this quarter is a time to evaluate your portfolio’s performance, the costs your investments are incurring and conduct a tax audit. “If your taxable holdings kicked off substantial capital gains distributions in years past, see if you can’t make some tax-efficient tweaks, such as switching to index funds and ETFs for your equity exposure and adopting municipal bonds for your nearer-term cash needs,” Morningstar says.
In addition, the third quarter is a good time to review your estate plans, beneficiary designations and also to create a digital estate plan. That governs what happens to your digital footprint, such as your social media and email accounts.
Fourth Quarter of 2023
This three-month period is when employers schedule open enrollment for various benefit plans. Mutual funds tend to distribute capital gains in December so avoid buying a fund just before it makes a distribution.
The fourth quarter contains three key deadlines.
- Sept. 15 – Deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments.
- Oct. 16 – If you received an extension on your 2021 tax return, you must have the return completed and postmarked by this date.
- Dec. 31 – Deadline for taking minimum distributions from traditional IRAs and 401(k)s. However, since Dec. 31 is a Sunday you will want to do this no later than Dec. 29.
The Bottom Line
Morningstar’s month-by-month guide for addressing financial obligations and opportunities lists time-sensitive tasks on the calendar for a specific month, such as the tax to-do items early in 2023, but you should feel free to tackle the other jobs in any order you see fit or to ignore those that don’t apply to you or that you’ve already achieved.
Tips on Money Management
- A financial advisor can give you a big-picture assessment of your finances in 2023. If you don’t have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Check out our no-cost investment calculator to get a quick calculator estimate of how your portfolio could grow over time.
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