Your End Of The Year Financial Checklist

As we approach the end of the year, it’s time to take stock of our financial well-being and ensure that we’re on the right track for the year’s end and beyond. As we head into December, it’s a good time assess our priorities and ensure we’ve covered all the essential tasks. In this blog post, we’ll discuss your End of The Year Financial Checklist, which includes some “do not pass go” items to check off before the end of the year. So, let’s dive in.

  1. Take Your RMD (Required Minimum Distribution):

For those who have reached the age of 72, taking your RMD from retirement accounts is a crucial financial task. The deadline for RMDs is December 31st, so now is the time to calculate the amount you’re required to withdraw from your IRA or 401(k) accounts to avoid penalties. Consult with your financial advisor to ensure you’re taking the right RMD amount.

  1. Check Your Contributions:

Before the end of the year, it’s essential to review and maximize your contributions to various financial accounts. This includes your retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or IRA, but also other accounts like Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or 529 Plans for college savings. Making the most of these contributions can help reduce your taxable income and grow your nest egg for the future. Confirm with your HR department or financial professional about your allowable contributions and deadlines.

  1. Manage Cash Flows and Holiday Spending:

Your fall season spending can quickly build up before your eyes, with holiday spending and end of the year bills. To lighten the burden and ultimately avoid financial stress, create a comprehensive budget that accounts for holiday gifts, travel expenses, and entertaining costs. It’s important to strike a balance between enjoying the season and staying within your means, but planning ahead can help avoid any unforeseen surprises.

  1. Tax Planning for the Spring:

Spring might seem far off, but it’s never too early to begin thinking about your tax situation. Take some time to assess your financial portfolio and plan accordingly so again, there are no surprise come tax season. Consider speaking with a tax professional or financial advisor who can provide guidance on effective tax planning strategies. You might also explore opportunities for charitable donations, such as a donor advised fund and explore tax-efficient investment strategies.

In this season of change and preparation, December 1st reminds us to prioritize our financial well-being. Your Year End Financial Checklist is a helpful guide to ensure you’re on the right track as we approach the year’s end. Similar to everything finance, building your personal financial checklist is unique to you and your family’s personal financial situation, so some of the items above may or may not apply to you. However, as we approach the end of the year, these are good concepts and ideas to think about to ensure you are maximizing your opportunities before year end. If you have questions, or are seeking help executing the tasks mentioned above, email us at or schedule a complimentary intro call here.

Why A Roth IRA and 401(K) Are Smart Retirement Vehicles For You

While saving for retirement is a great way to build your financial wealth and pile away money for the future, many individuals are unclear on the best vehicles to use when saving for retirement. Furthermore, we have been reading articles and hearing remarks from individuals, especially those of younger generations, that they do not want to tuck away money now for retirement, funds that they can’t touch for many, many years. So, for those of you who resonate with this feeling, but still want to optimize your retirement savings, let’s explore why a Roth IRA might be the right savings vehicle for you.

So, for starters, let’s explore what a Roth IRA (individual retirement account) is. For those who don’t know, a Roth IRA is a retirement vehicle that allows individuals who fall under a certain AGI limit to contribute after-tax dollars to a retirement account, meaning you pay taxes on the money upon contribution so your future withdrawals are tax free. Some benefits of a Roth IRA are that your earnings can grow tax free, there are no mandatory withdrawals, unlike a Traditional IRA, and that withdrawals can be taken out tax-free and penalty free, given you’re age 59½ or older and you have met the minimum account holding period, which is 5 years.
Another benefit of a Roth IRA that many young savers find attractive and comforting is the fact that they you can always access the money you contributed without penalty, no matter your age, unlike a traditional IRA. Of course, any gains in the account may be subject to taxes and penalties is withdrawn before age 59½, unless you qualify for an exception. So, while we don’t recommend withdrawing from your account, for those worried about totally locking up their money until retirement, a Roth IRA provides piece of mind that you do have access to those funds in case of an emergency. In fact, studies show that many young individuals don’t end up withdrawing from their accounts, but feel comfort knowing that they can. So if you get weary about your retirement savings, a Roth IRA and its flexibility might be right for you.
While there are many benefits of contributing to a Roth IRA, if you or your combined household has too high of a AGI, you may not be able to contribute. However, if you still want to take advantage of the Roth option within part of your retirement picture, see if your workplace 401(K) has a Roth component. Unlike a Roth IRA, the Roth 401(K) has no income limit and follows the same contribution limit as the traditional 401(K). If you are a small business owner or self-employed, but make too much to contribute to a Roth IRA, consider setting up a 401(K) for your business and adding a Roth component. This is a great way to take advantage of the benefits a Roth account offers, and also save for retirement. If you are looking to implement a 401(K) for your small business or the Roth component to your existing retirement plan, email us at and we are happy to help!
Given all the market volatility and economic uncertainty we’ve seen over the last few years, having a good grasp on your financial picture is important. While saving for retirement is a key piece of your financial plan, its only one piece of many, which is why we encourage working with an advisor on a holistic financial plan to analyze the larger scope. If you have any questions about your particular financial situation or a Roth IRA, email us at or schedule a complimentary intro-call here.

The IRS Increased Retirement Contribution Limits for 2024

The IRS announced the new 2024 retirement contribution limits for 401(k) plans, IRAs and other accounts this week, which include increases. This is a great opportunity for retirement savers to increase their savings rate next year. So, let’s take a look.

The employee contribution limit for 401(k)s will be increasing next year by $500, to $23,000, up from $22,500 in 2023, and catch-up contributions for those age 50 and older will remain unchanged at $7,500, so $30,500. These new limits apply to 403(b) plans as well and some TSP and 457 plans. Solo 401(k)s limit for 2024 is $69,000 and $76,500 for those over 50 years old.

The IRS also increased contribution limits for IRAs, increasing the limit for savers to $7,000 in 2024, up from $6,500 in 2023 for traditional and Roth savers. Catch-up contributions will remain unchanged at $1,000, so $8,000 for those over 50 years old. Simple IRA contribution limit will be $16,000.

Another feature to take a look at is the income phaseout range for Roth IRAs in 2024. The IRS increased the adjusted gross income phaseout range rising to between $146,000 and $161,000 for single individuals and heads of households, up from between $138,000 and $153,000 in 2023, leaving more opportunity for individuals to qualify for a Roth IRA. For those married filing jointly, the phaseout range is between $230,000 – $240,000.

If you have any further questions on the retirement contribution limits for next year or your personal financial situation, email or schedule a complimentary intro call here. Check out the IRS website for more information on the contribution limits.

Are Your Finances Negatively Impacting Your Mental Health?

Does money and financial conversations stress you out? Do you feel uncomfortable when having money discussions with your partner? If so, you’re not alone. Money conversations can bring up underlying insecurities and cause anxiety amongst individuals. Given the current market environment and economic uncertainty, extreme volatility, and newly reported record high inflation data, it’s extremely important to discuss mental health as it relates to money.

According to a survey from Bankrate, “some 42% of U.S. adults said that money has a negative impact on their mental health” (The study included nearly 2,500 American adults and took place between April 6 and 8.). We found this statistic alarming, as they also reported  “that 28% of those who said money has a negative impact on their mental health worry about it on a daily basis.” This data reinforces not only the importance of mental health awareness, but the importance of utilizing financial strategies to lessen this overwhelmed feeling individuals have when doing daily financial tasks such as checking their bank statements and paying bills.  

Establishing a financial plan is a great place to start when trying to organize your financial life. If you are feeling anxious, maybe it’s a good time to revisit your budget, risk tolerance, and asset allocation. As mentioned in a previous blog, many Americans actually do not have a financial plan, which means they have no road map to follow. At Sherman Wealth, we always say that life is complicated, but your finances don’t have to be. Consider working with a financial professional to lessen the burden and anxiety you feel when tackling your financial life on your own. With customized solutions and behavioral finance strategies, we can provide you with a plan that will seamlessly lead you in the right direction. 

As mentioned prior, we know money topics can be uncomfortable and scary for some, but it’s very prudent to recognize it and utlilize financial strategies so it does not negatively impact your mental health. We recorded a podcast episode with Music City Pysch’s David Pearl and he provided us with tips on having transparent, honest, judgment-free, conversations with your partner. If you have any questions about your financial situation or are feeling like money is negatively impacting you, please reach out to a mental health professional to  discuss or schedule some time here and we are happy to help. 

How Spending Habits Have Evolved in a High-Interest Rate Environment

Over the last few years individuals worldwide have found themselves needing to adapt to a rapidly ever changing economic landscape. In recent months, the consumer has needed to adjust to a higher interest rate environment due to inflation and a higher cost of living, prompting a significant shift in spending habits. One noteworthy transformation seen in more recent months is the decline in demand on home buying, as mortgage rates reach unprecedented highs. Let’s explore the impact inflation and rising interest rates is having on consumer spending.

As mentioned above, one of the large reconsiderations we have seen in consumer spending is homeownership. “With mortgage rates near 8% and average home prices hitting record highs, sales of existing homes were down 15.4% year-over-year in September”, according to the National Association of Realtors. Typical home buyers are now straying away from the real estate market and allocating those funds towards different goals, such as rent and education. For example, according to data firm ISS Market Intelligence, “There was a 15% increase in the number of new 529 college savings accounts opened in the third quarter from a year ago”. Homebuyers who either purchased or refinanced during the COVID-19 low interest rate era are now also realizing how expensive it would be to move or relocate rather than undergo a home improvement or renovation.

As the economic landscape continues to change, so do the goals of the consumer. While your goals may remain the same, many individuals are revisiting the importance and timeline of their goals, to better align with the current environment. So, one goal the consumer is starting to redirect their spending to in this environment is travel. Whether individuals missed out on travel during the pandemic or are now putting off their future home purchase, studied are showing that the consumer is redirecting their funds towards experiences rather than assets. The concept of “experiential spending” is gaining traction, with people allocating money towards travel, education, and enriching activities.

With interest rates at elevated levels, individuals are also becoming more strategic in managing their debt, becoming more conscious about variable interest rate debt, while maximizing interest earned on savings. Student loan payments came back online in October, adding another payment that was gone for quite some time back into the budget. These changes to the budget are having an impact on where the next incremental dollar is going.

In the face of higher interest rates, inflation, and an increased cost of living, individuals are reshaping their spending habits and financial strategies. The traditional notion of homeownership is being reevaluated, with a shift towards experiential spending, prudent debt management, and tighter budgets. As the economic landscape continues to evolve, adaptability will be crucial for individuals seeking to navigate these ever-changing environments successfully. If you have any questions on your spending habits or budget or would like to set up complimentary intro call, email or click here.

When Should You Give Inheritance Money to Your Kids?

When it comes to gifting and giving money, especially to family members, people are oftentimes confused on when is the right time to pass over their inheritance. Should an inheritance be strictly given after one’s death? Should it be used while one is still alive?  Let’s take a look at some of these questions.

Of course, every family is different, in terms of how they want to be remembered, but there are some things that every family should think about when passing on wealth. Many articles recently have been stating that individuals believe they will need an inheritance to maintain their level of wealth and living when they grow older. A Merrill Edge survey revealed that “a third of “mass affluent” Americans from Gen Z to baby boomers with investible assets of at most $250,000 are waiting on inheritances to achieve financial stability.” It’s interesting to see that so many individuals are relying on such wealth as part of their financial future. With our ever changing economy and sky-rocketing inflation, It will be interesting to see how the current market conditions impact the ability for individuals to continue to pass down wealth. Next, let’s take a look at when family members should think about passing down their inheritance to their heirs. 

Give Now or Later?

Giving now rather than later is the preferred approach for many financially comfortable people these days. According to a 2019 Merrill study, Leaving a Legacy: A Lasting Gift to Loved Ones, 65% of Americans 55 and older say it’s better to pass on at least part of their estate while they are still alive.

While every family person has a different financial situation and circumstance, if deciding whether to gift your money earlier or later, here are some questions to ask yourself. 

Are You Over-Giving?

Before you give to your children or family members, make sure you are not sacrificing your own personal financial situation. Oftentimes, family members give too much to their children and don’t save enough for their own lifetime. 

Some of your children may prefer to wait for their inheritance, while others could benefit greatly from having the assets today. Before making that decision, make sure to communicate with your family members to make sure everyone is comfortable with the situation at hand. Check out our podcast episode with David Pearl discussing money and financial traditions, explaining how to pass down money values and concepts. 

Where the U.S Tax Code Comes In

For those who are interested in contributing to the education of heir children or grandchildren, 529 plans may be a great place to start. 529 plans allows you to slowly contribute and save for your children’s education that they can use later in life. For the 2023 tax year, remember you can give up to $17,000 as a single filer and $34,000 as a married couple tax-free without it going against your gift exemption, 

While this situation varies from person to person, it’s important to plan out your inheritance and set a will in place so that your hard-earned money is shared amongst your loved ones. Planning early and asking yourself these questions is a great strategy to help you make the right decisions when it comes to your inheritance. If you have any questions about your personal financial situation and what makes the most sense for you and your family, please email us at 

Ep. 163 Launch Financial- October Core CPI Hits Two Year Low

Overview: Tune into this week’s CPI episode of Launch Financial as we discuss a cooler than expetced October CPI report, which marked the core CPI two-year low, as the consumer continues to cut back spending and prices cool off. We will be back with more inflation data and economic clues about the consumer following tomorrow’s PPI report. If you have any questions, email


Show Notes:

Check out this episode!

How Much Cash To Have in Savings: An Art & Science

In today’s ever-changing financial landscape, determining how much savings you should have is not a one-size-fits-all answer. It’s both an art and a science, and is highly specific to your personal financial situation and influenced by various factors in your life, such as job security, interest rates, financial goals, economic conditions, and more. Given that October is financial planning month, we want to discuss this question we get from tons of clients and prospects: How much cash should I have in my savings account? So, let’s take a look at some considerations to think about when answering this question and determining your savings strategy.   

Personalized Approach:

Your financial goals, obligations, and risk tolerance all play a crucial role in determining the ideal amount to keep in savings your savings account. As mentioned above, the security of your job and consistency/variability of your income plays a large role in this answer. For example, if your income is variable and inconsistent, you might think about keeping more liquid cash on hand due to the variability of your payments. Additionally, if you have other financial goals you are working towards, you may or may not be allocating more funds to your savings account, and rather other places or goals. So, remember that your savings approach should be personalized and unique to your situation- do not look to others for their strategy, and rather work with a financial professional to help sift thru your personal situation and goals to establish your approach.

Consider & Maximize Interest Rates:

As we have been discussing for quite some time, interest rates on savings account have spiked over the last year or so, with high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposits (CDs) now paying close to the 5% range or higher on cash. This higher interest rate environment is impacting the way consumers are thinking about cash within their overall investment portfolio. While keeping cash in a savings account or checking account, ensure that you’re maximizing the interest you earn. Shop around for the best interest rates and consider high-yield savings accounts or CDs that offer better returns on your money.

Take Your Budget Into Account:

As the consumer is continuing to adjust to this inflationary environment and a higher cost of living, many are tweaking their budgets. With student loan payments returning this month after a three year pause, you may be feeling a bit tighter on your monthly spending to accommodate this financial obligation. Revisit your budget frequently and ensure you are allocating some of your income to your cash savings so you aren’t sacrificing your savings goal.

Include Your Emergency Fund:

Among your cash savings should be your emergency fund, which serves as your cash reserve in the event of an emergency and is essential for unforeseen expenses or financial crises. A common rule of thumb is to have at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in this fund. However, similarly to what we have described above, the exact amount should be tailored to your individual circumstances and comfort level. Your financial well-being is not just about numbers; it’s also about peace of mind. Consider what makes you feel comfortable. If you’re uneasy about having too much cash on hand, explore alternative options like investments or paying down debt to optimize your financial situation. Conversely, if you feel that you are too short on cash, consider hunkering down and building up your cash reserve.

So, in conclusion, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much savings you should have. Your personal financial situation, risk tolerance, and goals will guide your savings strategy. Work with a financial professional to determine the right balance of cash savings, investments, and debt management. Continue to keep up with economic conditions and interest rates to ensure that your money is working for you. Most importantly, find a strategy that provides you and your famliy financial security and peace of mind. If you are seeking help determining the right amount for your savings reserve, email or schedule a complimentary intro call here.