Spring Cleaning: Is Your Financial House in Order?
By David Stipech
Director of Communications and Marketing
Spring officially arrived on March 20, and those of us in Northern Nevada have enjoyed a much-appreciated dose of spring-like weather most of this week (75-80 degrees!).
This time of year, thoughts quickly turn to spring fever, spring gardening (despite that "surprise" spring frost to come), and spring cleaning – washing those windows, clearing some cobwebs, raking up the yard and so forth.
Spring is also a great time to do some financial “tidying up.” With April 15 fast approaching, taxes are one facet of financial housekeeping. And just how is that going with tax preparation? Have you kept all those receipts and records throughout 2021, or do you find yourself saying, “I know I have those somewhere”? Are there surprises in your financial world now – that you wish you’d thought about last year? And speaking of last year, wasn’t that the year you vowed to be more on top of things (again)?
As you and your tax preparer handle that, it's important to know that filing taxes is only one aspect of spring financial chores.
December 31 is very predictable every year. And it seems so far away! Plenty of time to not worry about finances and all that. Yet we know how fast a year flies by. You'll be unboxing those holiday decorations before you know it.
So, pace yourself. Start now. Get your spring cleaning for your financial wellbeing going now. Here are some questions to consider so you can plan ahead:
- Are your personal affairs in order – financial planning, estate plans, written instructions, legal matters and health care directives with your attorney or other professional advisor?
- Have you arranged and communicated legacy giving (bequests) to impact future generations, not just of your family, but other causes and passions you wish to sustain?
- If you’re working, are your retirement plans in place and going as planned?
- If you’ve retired already, are you fulfilling your plans, hopes and dreams, not just for yourself, but for other people, charities and community issues you care about?
- Do you feel financially knowledgeable when it comes to whatever investments you have?
- Are your real estate and related investments on the right track? If you're selling a property, do you know how to limit capital gains' taxes while supporting worthy nonprofit organizations in our community?
- How’s your business doing? Would your company benefit from being more involved in our community through a program like Corporate Philanthropy Partners?
- And if you’re selling a business, do you understand ways to minimize taxes while helping those causes you care about?
- Are you keeping up with the changes in finance laws, investments, and trends?
Spring is a great time to ask yourself or discuss with your partner or family questions such as these. With this season's longer days, it’s a good time to sit outside in the sun or shade and reflect a bit when your mind is clear and unhurried. Get started now, and avoid dealing with those dark and cold days when you'll feel rushed under the wintry deadlines and time pressures at year’s end.
Perhaps best of all, spring cleaning in your financial world gives you the opportunity and freedom to make plans, to adjust plans, to put systems in place for your documents, to work together with the Community Foundation's experts, your family and/or your professional advisors, and to gain peace of mind by knowing your life is in order, just like your yard or living spaces.
The Community Foundation of Northern Nevada’s team of experts can help you as a sounding board for your life’s goals and dreams. Our Philanthropic Advisors can assist you in setting up Donor Advised Funds or other vehicles to meet your tax and financial goals while supporting important nonprofit work and community issues.
We also have a Professional Advisor Council with local, trusted experts, including attorneys, financial plann who are not staff of the Community Foundation yet who work together with us to your benefit.
The main thing to remember about spring financial cleaning is that you don’t have to have all the answers. Life is complicated, and getting your financial house in order begins with asking important questions and talking things over with people you can trust. That’s what we’re here for.
The Community Foundation of Northern Nevada is strengthening our community through philanthropy and leadership by connecting people who care with causes that matter. We welcome your call at 775-333-5499 or email us at email@example.com.