Five End-of-Year Ideas to Polish Your Portfolio

by Murray Coleman - Monday, 31 October, 2022

The holiday season is nearly here. That means it's time to fully prioritize your most important assets — family and friends. 

Beginning with Thanksgiving and ending sometime after the New Year, it's natural for families to focus on enjoying time spent with their loved ones. By the same token, it's common for investors to procrastinate about fine-tuning their comprehensive financial plans, which are offered on a complimentary basis to each IFA client.

In fact, IFA's wealth advisors find this holiday season to be a particularly opportune time for investors to take advantage of any downtime to proactively start looking ahead to a new year.

Along these lines, we've put together a quick list of five fairly easy and less-time consuming tasks that can give you a head start on polishing your financial cupboard. Please feel free to tackle any or all of these items listed below in your spare time.  

1. Retake Your Risk Capacity Survey

During the past 12 months, your financial situation might've changed in relation to your longer-term financial goals. Even if you were fortunate enough to weather this past year in relatively good financial health and without a major hit to your wealth, it's still probably a good idea to re-take the Risk Capacity Survey before year's end.   

Although a shorter version exists, we still strongly recommend that investors take the 25-question survey for a more accurate review.

We generally suggest our clients check it at least once-a-year. Just like getting an annual check-up at the doctor, IFA's RCS can help you to make sure your expectations are still in-line with your long-term financial plan. Such a holistic review of your overarching financial situation is offered for free to our clients through their IFA wealth advisors.  

2. Review Your Plans for Living in Retirement

After you've retaken the Risk Capacity Survey and received an appropriate risk capacity score, you can use a number of our tools to check whether you're still on track to reach any longer-term financial goals. In terms of retirement planning, we've developed a Retirement Plan Analyzer

This IFA calculator runs a Monte Carlo analysis, which takes a number of different inputs — like your risk capacity score, income and savings rate, desired income streams in retirement, anticipated Social Security benefits and estimated life span — and simulates 10,000 different potential outcomes to give you an idea of the degree of confidence you might have in reaching your long-term goals.

IFA also provides a 401(k) Savings Calculator to estimate your balance at retirement along with a Retirement Income Calculator.

3. Speak to Your Wealth Advisor 

Once you have taken the Risk Capacity Survey and completed the Retirement Analyzer, we urge you to reach out to your wealth advisor.

First, you need to make sure that your risk exposure is in alignment with your risk capacity. Then, if you're not on the right track to reach your retirement goals, your IFA wealth advisor can help fine tune your plan.

Lastly, you can discuss any other parts of your financial plan with an IFA wealth advisor. Topics include issues relating to insurance and estate planning to charitable giving, college planning and Social Security. 

4. Review Beneficiary Information and Required Minimum Distributions

Beneficiaries assigned to 401K accounts, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), individual brokerage accounts and trust accounts should be reviewed annually to make sure such information is consistent with any legal documents such as trust documents and/or wills.

It's also important to make sure that, if you're 72 years of age or older, you have taken your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD).

Your RMD is the minimum amount of distribution that a client must withdrawal from their tax-deferred accounts and is required by the Internal Revenue Service. Penalties will be applied to any minimum distribution that was not taken out in time. Again, please check with your IFA wealth advisor.  

5. Analyze Your Budget

Managing your monthly budget can be difficult and frustrating. Specifically, one of the most important aspects of controlling your household expenses is to determine where your money is going. Along these lines, we've designed a simple to use budget calculator to help you do just that. By entering your income and monthly expenditures, you can see how much you have left to save and where your money is being spent.

In addition, you can click the "View Report" to see your entries results in detail, which can help identify areas for improvement. (Each employee should target at least a 10% contribution amount into their 401K plan in order to achieve desired retirement goals.) 

Also, feel free to reach out to your advisor about using other software tools at IFA's disposal to help deal with different household budgeting issues. In particular, IFA's wealth management team is trained to work through different planning scenarios, both simple and complex. Among other programming platforms, we utilize eMoney. This highly adaptable interactive suite allows us to tackle all sorts of financial scenarios, from preparing to pay college expenses and buying a house or car to projecting future health care costs. 

Considering that our standard advisory fee includes a complimentary and detailed financial plan, we encourage all of our clients to talk to their IFA wealth advisor about how best to take advantage of such in-house resources. 

IFA also offers tax-related planning and advice through our IFA Taxes division. We work with both existing clients and outside investors, including business owners and their families. This team's services menu ranges from addressing accounting and bookkeeping issues to tackling tax preparation paperwork. You can contact John Dahlin, who is a certified public accountant, regarding questions about costs and how to get started with an in-depth review of your unique tax situation at: (888) 302-0765. 

Again, these five tips are offered as suggestions of items to check at your convenience during any holiday downtime. Each is designed to reduce how much time you'll have to spend next year on fine tuning your portfolio reviews and monitoring the progress in following your personal IFA financial plan. 

Most of all, the IFA team would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy holiday season. And remember to be good to not only your friends and family, but also to yourself. After all, that's why we're here — to support you in reaching your 'big picture' financial goals. Don't be shy about reaching out to us, either now or anytime in the future. 

This is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, recommendation, or endorsement of any particular security, product or service. There is no guarantee investment strategies will be successful. Investing involves risks, including possible loss of principal. Performance may contain both live and back-tested data. Data is provided for illustrative purposes only, it does not represent actual performance of any client portfolio or account and it should not be interpreted as an indication of such performance. IFA Index Portfolios are recommended based on time horizon and risk tolerance.  For more information about Index Fund Advisors, Inc, please review our brochure at or visit

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a license to provide accounting services to the public awarded by states upon passing their respective course work requirements and the Uniform Certified Public Accounting Examination.