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With 2023 just days away, could there be a more confusing time for investors? On one hand, the discussion is all about the upcoming recession — but is there actually going to be one? On the other hand, the discussion is also about the inflation monster, which has seriously impacted all of our wallets.
But are there signs that the monster is finally getting tamed, or is that just an illusion? In either case, what is the best way to prepare for spending and investing in the year ahead? AARP reached out to certified financial planners for tips on what older investors need to consider for the coming year. Here are their 10 best tips for 2023.
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1. Supersize your retirement plan contribution
If you are still working and have the cash flow, 2023 could be a terrific time to max out your tax deferrals, says Rachel Elson, a certified financial planner in San Francisco, California. Federal limits have jumped sharply, so with catch-up contributions, workers age 50 and up will be able to put $30,000 into workplace retirement plans like a 401(k) or 403(b).
You'll need to have sufficient income to allow this kind of saving because you could be tying up those dollars for several years, she says. But if you're in your peak earning stage — and especially if you're living in a high-tax state — the tax break from maximizing your deferrals can be meaningful.
2. Double-check charitable contributions
The one place that’s most obvious for tax deductions — charitable contributions — is also the place where many folks fail to get their full deductions, says Mitchell Kraus, a certified financial planner in Santa Monica, California. In reviewing his clients’ tax returns, Kraus discovered that most of them weren’t getting the full deduction from their charitable contributions because they either took the standard deduction or they were giving from the wrong pool of money.
More than 80 percent of Americans take the standard deduction, he says. There are other options. People over age 70½ can donate up to $100,000 from their IRA. (The contribution will not count as income.) Also, donating appreciated assets, such as stocks, might not create an extra deduction, but can avoid the capital gains taxes you would have to pay if you simply sold the asset, he notes.
3. Create a business owner retirement plan
More than 54 percent of America's small business owners are age 50 and over, according to the Service Corps of Retired Executives. Those who are self-employed can still have access to a retirement plan although many don’t realize it, says Marguerita M. Cheng, a certified financial planner in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The benefit to them is additional savings for retirement and tax savings either today or in the future. For those who have employees, the options include Simple IRA, SEP IRA or 401(k).