Santa's Guide To Financial Planning
In the frosty expanse of the North Pole, where elves craft toys, and reindeer prance, even a certain jolly someone can think about a few financial planning topics during his busiest season of the year. Like with any plan, Santa must manage his resources, time, and goals to ensure that he is able to complete one of the most difficult logistical nights of the year.
Making a list and checking it twice
Santa is known for making a list and checking it twice. In much the same way, the cornerstone of any good plan is having a good handle on your spending. Whether that is creating a detailed budget to stick to throughout the year or spending time tracking your expenses month-to-month, continuing to check on your spending is key to a well-rounded financial life. Check over your credit card statements and also your order history from online retailers (*see Santa’s little helper, Amazon) to get a better understanding of where your money has gone this year. Along with your spending, it’s also good to check that your savings are aligned with your plan, including ensuring that you are maximizing your savings from your employer benefits and funding your IRAs.
A red-nosed reindeer to weather the storm
Whether you’re driving a car, or a sleigh pulled by 12 reindeer, planning for what could go wrong is one thing that Santa learned early in his career. Whereas he was able to think quickly and leverage a friend with a strange colored nose, we can plan for the worst with life, liability, and disability insurance. Being deliberate about your risk management portfolio ensures that your financial plan gets to where it is supposed to be going. Understanding how much coverage your family needs in the case of your passing or disability and your liability in the case of an accident is something both Santa and Santa’s Helpers can both benefit from.
The spirit of giving
St. Nick and his helpers make gifts for millions of people across the globe and, while we are not quite sure how he squares his gifting with the IRS, we do know that giving as an individual does have some positive impact to your taxes. Philanthropic gifts can be written off on your taxes. You also don’t have to just donate cash or check. You may also donate appreciated stock and avoid capital gains taxes: a little something extra to go with your milk and cookies. To friends and loved ones, you can be as generous to as many people as you want, but just remember that 2023’s gift tax exemption is $17,500 for each person you gift to. So, keep your gifts below that number, unless you’re planning to file a Form 709 with the IRS. Before making gifts though, Santa checks with his tax advisor to make sure he stays within the rules and implements strategies properly.
The holiday season is incredibly busy for Santa, Mrs. Clause, and his Elves, but they still are able to find time to review some important financial planning topics, and so can you. We at WWA wish you a very Merry Christmas, and we will see you in the New Year!