What accounts should you be considering?
Be sure you have an adequate emergency fund that accounts for your spending needs and household employment status.
HSAs are one of the most powerful savings vehicle out there.
Ensure you are maximizing your contributions to your Employer Plan.
Self-employed individuals have special savings vehicles available to them.
Deciding on which accounts to use for your children depends on your goal.
If you are charitably inclined, DAFs can be a great way to give.
2023 is underway! As you start working towards your New Year’s resolutions of improving your physical and mental well-being, it is important to also create a game plan for your financial well-being.
Have a tax refund coming,
Received a bonus or a raise,
Need to save for education expenses,
Want to maximize your retirement contributions,
Or simply want to consider ways to save more this year.
Whatever the case, the beginning of the year is a great time to set your intentions and establish good habits to ensure you save for your financial goals.
Depending on your goals, here are 12 ways you can save more in 2023.
High Yield Savings Account
To get the most bang for your buck, your emergency fund and any cash allocated for near term goals (e.g., buying a house) should be in a high yield savings account. Most accounts are currently paying 3.5%+ and those rates will go up as the Fed continues to raise interest rates.
Our typical emergency fund target is between four and 12 months of your total monthly spending needs, depending on how quickly you can replenish the account and your household employment statuses. Now is a great time to review your spending in 2022 so you can see how much you actually spent and have a real savings target.
Certificates of Deposit (CD)/U.S. Treasury Bonds
For any longer-term cash (12 months +), you can consider 12- month CDs yielding 4%+ depending on the provider, or a 1-year U.S. Treasury Bond yielding ~4.7%. If you purchase these products, keep in mind that your rate is fixed for the entire term, and you should plan on keeping them for the specified term to avoid any penalties or changes in market price.
Health Savings Account (HSA)
If you are in a high deductible health plan that is HSA eligible, consider contributing the 2023 individual & family limits of $3,850 or $7,750 (extra $1,000 allowed if over 55). With tax-deductible contributions, tax-deferred growth, and tax-free withdrawals for medical expenses, you may never pay taxes on these dollars. Health care is one of the biggest retirement unknowns, so if you can start building a medical slush fund early – and not touch it until retirement – you will be in a much better position to navigate these potential expenses.
Employer Sponsored Plans - 401(k)/403(b)
If your employer offers a 401(k) or 403(b), contribute as much as you can up to the 2023 limits of $22,500 if you are under age 50, and $30,000 if you are 50 and older. At the very least, make sure you are contributing enough to take advantage of any employer match that is provided.
If you will max out your 401(k) contributions and still have capacity to save, you may be able to leverage a “Mega Backdoor Roth” strategy for significant tax-free growth of your contributions.
A big mistake to avoid? You should have a strategy behind your contribution type - Pre-tax, Roth, and After-tax (if offered). Work with a financial advisor who will consider your specific circumstances to help you determine how you can optimize your contributions.
Roth IRA/Backdoor Roth IRA
Do you want to save outside of your employer plan?
If you meet the income limits, consider contributing directly to a Roth IRA. You can contribute up to $6,500 if you are under age 50 or $7,500 if you are over 50.
Are you over the income limits? High earners that do not already have a Traditional IRA can consider a Back Door Roth IRA.
Future tax rates are a big unknown, so by implementing more tax-free growth strategies into your plan, you will be guaranteeing that more of these funds can be used to support your lifestyle instead of going towards paying taxes.
Read “Top 5 Benefits of a Roth IRA.”
Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP)
Do you work for a publicly traded company?
If so, and your company offers an ESPP, you might have the opportunity to purchase company stock at up to a 15% discount. You can contribute up to $25,000/year and you make contributions through payroll deductions. While it is always nice to purchase stock at a discount, you will want to consider any other equity compensation you have received (NSOs, ISOs, RSUs), and the tax implications, to make sure you are not overexposed to just one company.
Read “How To Maximize Your Employee Incentive Stock Plans.”
Self-Employed Savings Options
If you are self-employed, there are special retirement savings options available to you.
A simplified employee pension (SEP) is a type of individual retirement account that allows you to make pre-tax contributions of the lesser of 25% of your income or $66,000 in 2023.
Another retirement savings option is a Solo or Individual 401(k). This is a retirement account that allows you to make pre-tax and/or Roth contributions as the employee AND employer. The same IRS annual limit of $66,000 applies here, however, if you are at least age 50, you can contribute an additional $7,500 in 2023.
Both can be great options but come with their own benefits and considerations. Several factors, such as your savings capacity, investment options, and employee dynamics should be considered to determine which savings plan gives you the greatest opportunity to save.
Accounts for Future Generations
529 Savings Plan
Is saving for your child’s education a top priority for you?
If so, 529 Plans are a great option because they offer tax-free growth for qualified education expenses, generous contribution allowances, and flexibility. A Direct Sold Plan will allow you to create a diversified and cost-effective investment strategy. You may also be eligible for a state income tax deduction or credit if you contribute to your state-sponsored plan.
Uniform Transfers/Gift to Minors Act (UTMA/UGMA)
If you want to save for non-education goals on behalf of minor children or grandchildren, then a UTMA/UGMA - also referred to as Custodial accounts - can be a great option. The account is in the minor’s name, but you act as the guardian and have control over the account until that minor reaches the age of majority (18-25-years old, depending on the state).
Read “What should I do with money for my kids?”
Still have the capacity to save after emergency savings and retirement contributions?
Consider investing excess cash in a brokerage account. Since these are not retirement accounts, you can access the funds at any time without penalty. In addition, if you sell a position that you have owned for longer than one year, any gains will be taxed at more favorable capital gains rates instead of ordinary income rates. These accounts can act as a great backstop to your emergency fund and can diversify your tax profile.
Donor Advised Fund (DAF)
Do you have a donation strategy in place?
If you are charitably inclined, one of the easiest and most tax-efficient ways to gift is through a donor-advised fund.
How does it work?
You make a tax-deductible donation to your DAF,
Grow your donation, tax-free, and
Give to 501(c)(3) organizations of your choosing.
DAFs are a great option if you contribute to several organizations every year, bunch your donations, and/or own highly appreciated stock. Careful tax planning is necessary, so work with a CPA and your advisor to determine if this is a potential strategy for you.
Identifying your savings opportunities and which accounts to use can be complex and overwhelming. But do not let that stop you from taking action to create a plan. Work with an advisor that will take the time to understand your financial goals and situation and help you determine what options best suit your unique circumstances.
Prioritize your financial health in 2023 – I promise, you will not regret it.
Katie Blechschmidt, CFP®
Director of Client Success
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