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End-of-the-year planning

As the old adage goes, “Time flies when you are having fun!” The last couple of months seem to have followed the saying. Normally, I start writing about end-of-the-year planning in October. The recent market turmoil took precedence over other topics.For the end of the year – and in a condensed version – here are the areas to be looking at.Retirement: After the rollback of the markets, will you still be able to retire when you want to? If you are retired, do you need to supplement your income?Profit sharing/401(k): If you participate in your company’s profit sharing/401(k) program, are you at least matching the company’s contribution? When was the last time you answered the Risk Tolerance Questionnaire, and have you properly allocated your investments? When was the last educational seminar you had at work?Traditional or Roth IRAs: Is this the year you begin to continue to convert your Traditional IRA to a Roth? If you have not started taking your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) you need to see if this is a viable option for you. Are you over 50 years of age? Do you know about the make-up contribution options?Insurance: What is adequate? When is it too much?Life insurance: Depending on the source, it could be from two to six times your earnings. Many factors come in to play here. Is it you and your debt, or are you married and your spouse needs financial help if you die? Are there minor children involved? What happens to your business? Are you trying to leave a legacy for your heirs by buying insurance for “pennies on the dollar?”Property and casualty insurance: This is necessary coverage for people who drive cars and own or rent a home. How much is enough? Even better, when was the last time you looked? What is an umbrella policy and is it worth the additional money?Taxes: There are subtle changes that you can make to decrease you tax liability. A good CPA or tax professional can calculate your income and withholding with a software program to find out if you should be withholding a greater or lesser amount and by how much. If you need to, pay 2009’s real estate tax before Dec. 31 to receive the deduction this year.Estate plan and conservation: When was the last time you looked at what you have? After April 2003, you may need a separate document authorizing health care providers to inform your loved ones about your current health status. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) release enables the agents under your health care directives to access your medical records, and without it they may not receive information regarding your status. Catherine Hammond-Shell, founding attorney of Hammond Law Group in Colorado Springs, said that “over 70 percent of Americans have no written plan whatsoever.” Are you one of those people?I stated earlier that this information is disseminated over three months. This is a condensed version of topics that can take a longer time to discuss. Refer to my Web site: for calculators and articles of interest.Thank you and have a safe and enjoyable series of holidays!About Alex Donnell and Colorado Comprehensive Wealth ManagementAs a nationally published author, Alex Donnell has written articles on estate planning, financial planning and investments. Alex Donnell, founder and president of Colorado Comprehensive Wealth Management in Colorado Springs, and independent investment advisor representative for Heartland Financial Consultants, has been a part of the financial services industry for more than 16 years.Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, L. Alexander Donnell, registered representative. Advisory services offered through Heartland Financial, L. Alexander Donnell, investment advisor representative. Colorado Comprehensive Wealth Management, LLC, Heartland Financial Companies, and Securities America are not affiliated.

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