The current market situation is an example of why financial planning (with a keen eye toward tax outcomes) is the cornerstone of investment decisions, retirement planning, business transitions, insurance choices, etc. A drop in the market provides plenty of planning opportunities to consider.
- Roth conversions – Convert Traditional IRA accounts to Roth IRAs to maximize future tax-free growth and income distributions as the market recovers.
- Increase plan contributions – Increase current 401k/403b contributions to “buy low” when the market is down and increase tax-deferred growth potential.
- 529 Plans – For the same reasons above, consider “max funding” or taking advantage of the 5 year “bunching” rule for gifts to 529 Plans.
- RMD’s – Stop or delay – Delay taking required minimum distributions until later in the year to allow accounts to recover (or don’t take them at all for 2020 if you don’t need to).
- Roth deferrals – Consider switching traditional 401k/403b deferrals to Roth deferrals if household income this year will be lower this year.
- Tax loss harvesting – Tax loss harvest to generate capital losses that can be used to offset capital gains now and in the future.
- Estate and asset protection planning – Consider several strategies for asset protection and estate tax planning.
- Consider gifts to irrevocable trusts using assets that have reduced in value. Consider creating a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT) that allows your spouse to control and receive income from the assets in the trust.
- In addition to, or alternatively, sell depressed assets to the trust in return for a promissory note using current low applicable federal rates.
- If you have grantor trusts in place (e.g. Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts), consider swapping assets that have a currently depressed value for assets inside the trust that may be holding their values. This allows currently depressed assets to recover in value outside of your estate.
- Create and fund Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs). These trusts rely on the appreciation on the assets beating the growth based on current applicable federal rates GRATs work best as estate planning vehicles when interest rates are low and with assets that are likely to appreciate significantly over time.
- Invest some excess cash – Begin dollar cost averaging cash that is earmarked for long-term investment.
- Re-balancing – Now and going forward, awareness to portfolio re-balancing frequency to maintain appropriate allocations.
- Refinance – Consider refinancing your mortgage and intra-family loans – interest rates are fluctuating quickly, but may be worth looking into.
The ideas above may or may not be applicable to your personal situation and should be discussed with your advisors prior to implementation. Please contact your HSC advisor, HKFS financial planning consultant, Kathy Ettensohn, CPA firstname.lastname@example.org, or Scott Olinger, CPA, CGMA email@example.com with any questions you may have.