A time to take stock

Date posted: April 30, 2012

The sun is shining, and the flowers are blooming. Spring is also tax season. Is there anything special about this time of year from a financial point of view?

“Well, of course, most people dread this because it means we’ve got to collect a lot of information. We’ve got to go through a lot of paperwork. We’ve got to go through and do those taxes ourselves or take them to our accountant and tax preparer. So, it’s not a happy time for many people.

“But my advice is, if you’re going to have to go through all of this, collect all of this information, organize this information, this is really a good time to make an assessment of your financial situation, certainly with respect to taxes.

“You don’t want to have too much withheld, but you don’t want to have too little withheld. You want to hit it just right. So, if for example you’re getting back a big check from the government, again remember that’s an interest free loan, [so] you may want to lower your withholding.

“Conversely, if you owe the government a big amount, you probably want to increase your withholding. So, that’s one thing you want to do.

“The other thing you want to do is, this time of year when you’re getting your information for taxes, you’re going to get a lot of information on your investments. So this is a good time to see well how have your investments done. What kind of rate of return did you earn on your investments over the last year? And if it’s not good, what kind of changes might you make? So, take stock of your investments.

“And then lastly think about your retirement situation. Again, with all this financial information you’ll be getting data on your retirement situation, are you saving enough? Are you on target to be able to retire when you want to retire? If not, what kind of adjustments do you need to make? What kind of special investments might you want to make?

“So, again my bottom line here is you’re going to go through and have to gather all this information. Make the best use of it.”

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