Take Good Care of Yourself, Your Family and Your Community in 2024
For more than a decade, I’ve served as Treasurer and on the finance committee for nonprofit organizations. One consistent theme I’ve experienced is the large percentage of an organization’s revenue that typically comes in toward year-end. I believe this is a common trend as people tend to shift tax-reduction strategies to the top of their list as we approach the end of the year. Year-end giving is often customary with family members as well. We feel more generous around the holidays and want to put thoughtfulness into action by supporting our loved ones and making them happy.
Squeezing other personal financial decisions into year-end is a trend I’ve witnessed over the past 25 years as a financial advisor—many people wait until the last minute, which doesn’t always lend itself to a high degree of confidence that you’re making the right financial moves.
As the saying goes, “failure to plan is planning to fail.” If this sentiment resonates with you, let’s make a change in 2024 and put our personal finances at the top of our to-do list—right now. Here are five steps to becoming more generous with yourself, your family and your community in 2024:
- Pay yourself first. Determine how much you want to save and establish biweekly or monthly auto drafts from your bank account to your savings and investment accounts. As I mention in my Girl Talk, Money Talk II book,1 rewrite your financial equation to save first and spend everything (or as much as you wish) that’s left over with no guilt.
- Increase your 401(k) contributions. The limits have increased by $500 this year, so take advantage of saving more of your pay for the future. If you’re under age 50, the maximum pre-tax or Roth 401(k) deferral is $23,000; add $7,500 for those age 50 or over in 2024, for a total 401(k) contribution of $30,500.2 The sooner you increase your contribution election, the less impactful the change will be to your paychecks this year.
- Don’t forget about funding your IRA or Roth IRA (income limits apply). IRA or Roth IRA owners can now save $7,000 (under age 50) or $8,000 (age 50+)3 and invest these funds for retirement.
- The annual gift exclusion increased this year to $18,000 per person.4 This means you may gift an unlimited number of people $18,000 in 2024 without having to report the gift to the IRS, and the recipient doesn’t report the gift as income. Married couples can elect to gift split, thereby making unlimited numbers of $36,000 gifts to individuals in 2024. Think of loved ones who could truly benefit from some financial support, and if it’s feasible for your budget, go for it!
- Another enhancement in 2024 is the Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) limit increase from $100,000 to $105,000 for those age 70.5 and over.5 This enhancement allows an IRA owner to gift up to $105,000 from their IRA this year to their favorite qualified charities and not report the withdrawal as income if properly handled as a QCD. This can also help reduce Medicare premiums by limiting the amount of taxable income reported.
Don’t procrastinate this year. Make your financial to-do list now, put your savings on autopilot, take advantage of new rules to save and share more, and pursue wealth enhancement opportunities as you also positively impact others! As a bonus, being proactive will make the holiday season more enjoyable when you can focus on friends and family at year-end rather than finances. Have a happy and meaningful 2024.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa is a Partner, Wealth Advisor in our Atlanta office. She joined legacy firm Brightworth in 2005 and became a Partner in 2010. In addition to working with clients, Lisa has published three books: Girl Talk, Money Talk. The Smart Girl’s Guide to Money After College; Girl Talk, Money Talk II. Financially Fit and Fabulous in Your 40s and 50s; and legacy firm Brightworth’s first book, Building Your Wealth Inside Corporate America. Lisa has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, YahooFinance, CNBC.com, and many more, and frequently speaks at seminars across the country.
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