As 2021 dawns and the longest year in history has finally come to an end, one of the best presents one can bestow upon themself and their loved ones is the gift of improved financial preparation for the new year. Here are Periscope Wealth Management’s top tips to maximize financial strategy.
1. Give as one is able to, and get a little back.
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), made it much harder to realize itemized tax deductions beyond what the increased standard deductions already allow. However, the 2020 CARES Act allows for donations up to $300 to a qualified charity, and the deductions can be considered “above the line.” In other words, even if a person is taking a standard deduction, they can give a little extra, and receive an extra tax break back, without having to itemize their deductions.
Next, if they are itemizing deductions, the CARES Act also temporarily suspends the usual “60% of their AGI” limit on qualified cash contributions. The exception does NOT apply to Donor Advised Fund contributions and has a few other restrictions. If they’ve already been thinking about making a large donation to a favorite charity, 2020 might be an especially good year to do so – for all concerned. Please check with the CPA or tax professional for details.
Peter Soriento, of Periscope Wealth Management, encourages his clients to consider charitable giving as part of their financial plan, “Everyone should have a favorite charity or two, even if there was no tax benefit, giving back and sharing in your success is the right thing to do.”
*Equitable Advisors and its affiliates and associates do not provide tax or legal advice or services.
2. Revisit Life’s Risks.
As the pandemic reminded everyone, life is full of surprises. That’s why it’s imperative to simultaneously build wealth and protect it against the inevitable unexpected. The insurance industry as a whole has undergone an evolution in favor of the consumer, not only from a cost perspective but also creating more ease of business. Insurance portfolio review is an exercise to help clients navigate the current plans in place & leveraging potential offerings in the marketplace that may be more competitive. More now than ever, clients have had new health or career risks may warrant stronger disability income insurance. It may be time to consider long-term care insurance, life insurance, or umbrella coverage. Regardless of life circumstances, there’s no time like the present to prepare for the future’s greatest risks.
Periscope’s head of Risk Management, Patrick McEvoy, says “A main component of our review & planning process includes an audit of existing insurance portfolios that our clients have in place. Oftentimes we find the opportunity to help reduce costs and maximize benefits by leveraging more efficient strategies available in the marketplace today. The advantages of restructuring one’s insurance portfolio not only lie in greater protection for the client, but can also free additional capital/cash-flow which can be deployed towards other financial planning objectives.”
3. Start Planning For Retirement.
Ask oneself, “Are you taking full advantage of the tax deductions received by contributing each year to your employer’s retirement plan? Are you self-employed without a plan of your own?” Company sponsored plans are an important, tax-savvy way to begin saving for retirement, especially if an employer has committed to matching a portion of one’s contributions with company dollars. Individuals who are 50 or older may have the option to make additional “catch-up contributions” to their plan. Doing so allows them to help further grow their retirement nest egg.
Periscope Wealth Management’s Certified Financial Planner, David DePalma, recommends that his clients review their income and expenses each year in case there is any room to increase retirement plan contributions. “Try and make these changes early in the year, so you are not playing catchup later. For individuals who may be starting at a lower contribution rate, many 401(k) plans offer options to automatically increase your contribution each year by 1% or 2%, up to a target max. Before you know it, you’ll be at your long-term target and you won’t even realize it because of the gradual increase,” says David.
4. Analyze The 2020 Budget.
One should take a look at their 2020 spending. Some may find they have a little more cash on hand due to canceled vacations, fewer nights out, or canceled after school activities for kids. On the flip side, others may have dipped into their emergency fund due to budget cuts at their jobs. After analyzing the last year, consider how much is intended to be spent in the year ahead. There are a variety of apps available online to help individuals answer these important questions, but for a more personalized experience, Periscope Wealth Management, provides clients free access to some of the most sophisticated, yet simple financial planning tools to help analyze their cash flow and track their budget on a periodic basis.
Peter Soriento of Periscope Wealth Management recommends his clients schedule a semi-annual family meeting, “It is a great opportunity for a family to sit down together and set long and short-term goals around their budget. It is also a perfect teaching moment for children and helps instill financial discipline at an early age.”
5. Make Sure Estate Plans Are Up to Date.
Those who have wills or trusts set up for loved ones should consider taking a look at them to make sure they still reflect their plans for the future. Life events, such as births, marriages, or divorces can all affect estate planning. It is also just as important, if not more, to review the listed beneficiaries on their investment accounts and life insurance policies. If a beneficiary was named when one first established their policy or account, those proceeds will pass at death via contract law, which is not subject to probate and therefore will supersede what is written in the person’s will.
As David DePalma, CFP, always tells his clients, “Like a great author it is not the writing, but the rewriting that is important. Any plan is only as good as its most recent review. It is so important to go over not only your investment allocations, but your estate plans on a regular basis too.”
6. Assess and Realign with Investment Goals.
Assess investments and make sure they reflect the individual’s current net-worth. Make sure that their portfolio reflects both their long term goals and ability to take on risk. Although Periscope recommends a slow and steady approach, it can still be necessary to pivot every so often.
According to Mr. Soriento, “2020 was a great example of how much volatility an individual can tolerate.” Peter’s practice focuses on coaching his clients in understanding risk and managing those tolerances through a combination of solid diversification and hedging in what he calls a “barbell strategy” … Good investment strategy is all about finding that perfect balance of risk and reward, the “yin and yang”. Peter works closely with his clients to customize their allocations to achieve, “a yoga-like balance”.
7. Consider Using a Holistic Approach to Wealth Management.
Periscope Wealth Management fully integrates all aspects of financial planning and wealth management. They take a client-focused approach and are committed to facilitating long-term service and relationships. Through four distinct deliverables, including competence, coaching, convenience, and continuity, they have established themselves as one of New York’s leading firms for wealth management. “This past year has brought many of our clients to an inflection point, taking full inventory across not only investment portfolios, but insurance, real estate & wealth transfer to the next generation. The question we ask is not only WHAT it is that they own, but WHY do they own it? This simple exercise has been eye-opening, says McEvoy.
As the new year dawns, Periscope Wealth Management is prepared to come alongside individuals, institutions, and businesses to help them navigate a steady financial path through ever changing waters.
Securities offered through Equitable Advisors, LLC (NY, NY 212-314-4600), member FINRA, SIPC (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN). Investment advisory products and services offered through Equitable Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor. Annuity and insurance products offered through Equitable Network, LLC. Periscope Wealth Management is not a registered investment advisor and is not owned or operated by Equitable Advisors or Equitable Network. Individuals may transact business and/or respond to inquiries only in state(s) in which they are properly qualified. PPG-158412(1/21)(Exp.1/23)
CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM are certification marks owned by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. These marks are awarded to individuals who successfully complete the CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Company Name: Periscope Wealth Management
Contact Person: Peter Soriento, David DePalma, and Patrick McEvoy
Email: Send Email
Phone: (212) 541-1864
Address:1290 Ave of Americas, 4th Fl
City: New York
Country: United States