taxes

Your life has only 3 planning scenarios

Mark Ziety

By Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®, Senior Advisor, WisMed Financial

You’ll either have a long life, health problems along the way or a short life. That’s it.

Plan for those three situations whether you’re single, married, with or without kids and most of your planning is done. Let’s look at how to plan for each.

First, essential tasks for everyone

  • Manage monthly cash flow. Call it a budget, spending plan, living below your means or whatever makes it appealing to you. It doesn’t matter if you have high income or low income, everyone needs to control their inflow and outflow.
  • Life happens, have an emergency fund.
  • Pay off all high interest consumer debt.
  • Give of your time, resources and be thankful. Live happy.

Plan for a long life

  • Are you saving at least 15% for retirement with the right investments? Boosting it to 20-25% is even better.
  • Have you maximized your tax advantaged retirement accounts through your employer and on your own?
  • Will your tax burden be higher or lower in the future? Hint – if you have a lot of tax deferred investments, you could be igniting a tax bomb that hits later in life.
  • Save for kids’ education expenses.
  • Determine the monthly income you’ll have in retirement from all sources.
  • Dream about your future.

Plan for health problems

  • Health insurance is the obvious answer.
  • Auto and umbrella insurance can provide for you via uninsured/underinsured coverage.
  • Disability insurance that replaces two-thirds of your income if you can’t perform your own occupation is critical, especially during your early and mid-career. A policy with an inflation adjustment is even better.
  • Everyone over age 18 should have health care and financial power of attorney documents.
  • Do you have a source to pay for long-term care expenses? If not, consider an insurance policy.

 Plan for a short life

  • If anyone depends on you for income, get term life insurance. It’s cheap, so don’t skimp.
  • Are your beneficiary designations correct?
  • Do you need a will or trust?
  • Ensure your family knows where to find your documents and accounts.
  • Tell your family you love them. And if you’re faithful, pray.

Since we don’t know the future, all three plans are important for everyone. Our Physician’s Financial Guide has even more tips. Or, for one-on-one help schedule an appointment.

To your best life and healthy finances.

Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF® 608.442.3750.
WisMed Financial, Inc. part of the Wisconsin Medical Society

Your 2022 Tax Strategy

Mark Ziety

By Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®, Senior Advisor, WisMed Financial

Tax laws feel like stepping into quicksand lately, don’t they? Trying to understand if, when and how the tax laws will change can make you feel like the floor will fall out from under you at any moment. (Particularly at tax time.)

This is especially true if you’re a high earner or have accumulated a significant nest egg. With each tax change, it feels like your tax-saving strategy is in jeopardy. However, we are in familiar waters because the tax laws have evolved constantly. In the past 20 years alone, the wealthiest taxpayers’ top marginal tax rate has shifted between 35% and 39.6%.

It sounds all doom and gloom, but it’s possible to find tax-saving opportunities hiding inside your current strategy and every new tax law update.

With your 2021 tax return in hand, it’s time to start planning your 2022 tax strategy by checking some important lines on your 1040 or 1040-SR. Things to consider:

  • Lines 2b and 3b show dividends and interest that are adding to your current tax bill. Should you hold these investments in a tax deferred account?
  • Was line 4b exactly $6,000 or $12,000? If so, your backdoor Roth IRA contribution(s) was probably not reported correctly.
  • Did you have realized capital gains that may have added to your tax? Check line 7 to find out. If your capital gain tax rate is low, consider whether you should realize additional capital gains in 2022 or defer them to a future year.
  • Did your deductions help you? If line 12a is $12,550, $14,250, $18,800, $25,100, or $27,800 you did not get a deduction. Consider bunching multiple years of deductions into a single tax year so you can itemize deductions.

US Senators still intend to pass portions of last year’s failed Build Back Better Act in 2022, so the timing of property tax payments, additional tax deferral, and Roth conversions are all strategies that should be considered this year.

Want help with your tax strategy? Download WisMed Financial’s free tax planning guide  or schedule an appoinment.

P.S. Download the 2022 tax brackets, retirement contribution limits, investment checklist, and quick decision flow charts from the new WisMed Mobile app.

To your best life and healthy finances.

Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF® 608.442.3750.
WisMed Financial, Inc. part of the Wisconsin Medical Society