While it may feel like 2015 just arrived, that New Year’s baby is fast becoming a senior citizen. For investors, that means some year-end tasks remain on the to-do list.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean placing your bets about which stocks or sectors you believe will do well – or poorly – in 2016. Instead, investment professionals say, year-end financial tasks often pertain to taxes or general planning matters.
Here are some tasks investors should handle before the year ends:
Tax-loss harvesting. Tim McGrath, managing partner at Riverpoint Wealth Management in Chicago, says tax-related questions make up the bulk of client discussions in the fourth quarter, including a look at capital gains.
Short-term capital gains are the net gains from the sale of shares owned for one year or less. In a nonqualified account, taxation of these gains can put a dent in returns. To offset those effects, McGrath uses tax-loss harvesting, the process of selling a security that shows a loss. In some cases, investors or advisors can replace the sold security with something similar. That maintains the desired asset allocation mix while avoiding a potential tax hit.