Year-End Planning Ideas to Share with Clients

Advice to the Advisors

Sheaff Brock Institutional | Gifts of Year-End Planning for Your Clients

Year-End Planning Ideas to Share with Clients

Even as your clients are rushing around to make eleventh-hour holiday gift purchases, it’s important to offer them “gift bags” filled with last-minute year-end planning ideas, all the while encouraging them to gear up for 2020.

It’s never too late for a planning discussion, beginning with a reminder of year-end cutoff dates. offers a workable deadline checklist, while Sheaff Brock wealth managers offer some innovative “food for thought” as the year draws to a close.

Required Minimum Distributions from IRAs, 403(b)s and 401(k)s must be completed by December 31. However, for the year in which you turn 70.5, you may defer your first RMD until April 1st of the following year.

Contributions to retirement plans
While the deadline isn’t until the 31st, payroll dates and HR procedures vary; employees must leave enough time for year-end contribution changes to be implemented. (2019 limits for workers under 50—$19,000. Those 50 and older can add $6,000 in “catch-up” contributions.)

529 contributions
The cutoff for donations to these educational accounts is December 31st. Keep in mind gift tax limits when making contributions.

Tax loss “harvesting”*
Harvesting losses involves selling an investment position for a loss to generate a tax deduction and offset other investment income. Securities that have been held 12 months or more are long-term; those held for less time are short-term. Deadline is Dec. 31. In certain cases, “non-traditional” advice turns out to be most appropriate. For example, Senior Portfolio Manager JR Humphreys suggests that, with the current low rate environment for municipal bonds, preferred equity can be a way to increase after-tax income, while Senior Vice President Christy Jordan explains that in certain situations, it may make sense to reverse the direction of tax harvesting, using gains to offset long-term losses rather than the other way around. As the net proceeds flow into clients’ taxable accounts, Sheaff Brock offers option overlay strategies that strive for incremental income in addition to that provided through either high-quality equities or ETFs.

Roth conversions
Conversions of Traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs must be completed by Dec. 31st.

Charitable contributions
While the deadline is the 31st, charitable organizations need time to process your donation, particularly if the contribution is in the form of appreciated securities. For many institutions, therefore, the cutoff may have already passed.

In keeping with a holistic approach, Sheaff Brock believes a year-end assessment sets the stage for each investor to strategize and adapt their investment plan in the year to come.

*Sheaff Brock does not offer tax advice, instead working in cooperation with investors’ tax advisors to coordinate investment planning and tax strategy.

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