Smart Money Moves For The New Year

Putting things in place now can enhance your portfolio in 2006

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the financial security of the families, and it could be passed down to future generations. “We never thought about insurance for the success of the business,” says Fulton. “It is important to not suck the business dry [because you have to] make sure your family is OK.”

Upgrade computer backup capabilities. Whether you have a home-based business or operate out of a storefront or office building, Hinson suggests making sure your computer system has remote backup capabilities. Also, make sure that there are copies of your backup files in a secondary location. “Most businesses lean on their computers tremendously,” says Hinson. “And one of the challenges people had coming out of Katrina was that they lost their computers, which shut their businesses down.”

Tips On Taxes
Organize tax records. With tax season staring you in the face, you should organize everything to avoid overlooking important documents or having to amend tax returns later. “A lot of times, people discover documents after they have had their tax return prepared and miss out on something that could benefit them,” says Neiser.

Begin setting aside money to pay taxes on capital gains.
“Anyone with mutual fund accounts outside of a retirement plan may receive taxable distributions for 2005,” Neiser says. The 2005 distributions are likely to be higher than distributions from the last few years due to the rise of the stock market.

Assess how life changes may affect your tax liability. Many people may have experienced major adjustments in 2005 that can affect their tax situation in 2006. If you have purchased property, had a baby, gotten married or divorced, or received an inheritance, it could affect your taxes. You could receive significant tax breaks or be responsible for paying additional taxes.

Meet with a financial planner to discuss upcoming life changes. You may expect to change jobs, buy or sell a business or some real estate, or begin planning for college. These can be lifestyle changes that affect your tax situation. An adviser can help you prepare for these events.

— Additional reporting by Aissatou Sidime

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