A Different Degree of Wealth

Planning For The End Of The Year: 5 Strategies To Consider


As the year winds down, you may be more focused on wrapping up projects and making sure you’re ready for the holiday season. The year 2023 is coming up fast, and as you plan for the future, you may be thinking about work-related projects or personal goals.

The end of the year is a good time to review your financial situation, plan for next year and make sure you’re ready for any surprises. Here are five strategies to consider as you prepare for 2023.

Potential for Roth Conversions

If you have a traditional IRA, it may make sense to convert some money to a Roth IRA. The conversion involves paying taxes on the amount converted; but after that, any earnings will be tax-free as long as you don’t take out more than your original contribution amount before age 59 ½ and meet the 5-year rules. This is an especially good option if your income will be higher next year because of a bonus or raise.

Review employer benefits and changes for 2023

Because of rising inflation and a tight labor market, many employers are raising salaries of workers in 2023. Many employees can expect cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) as inflation has increased considerably in 2022. Any sort of salary or wage increase can impact your investing and saving strategy.

If you have a company sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b), you may be able to contribute more and get the maximum match from your employer. If your salary is increasing, consider increasing your retirement contribution or saving more on your own. You can also look at other retirement savings vehicles such as IRAs or Roth IRAs to see if they’re better suited for certain goals.

Review taxes and start planning for 2023

If you’re like most people, taxes play a big role in your financial plan. You may have heard that the tax code has changed, and you’ll want to review it before making any major financial decisions.

In October 2022, the IRS announced updated changes and provisions in the tax code for taxpayers. Some of the highlighted changes that will affect investors in 2023 are:

  • The standard deduction for married couples filing jointly for tax year 2023 rises to $27,700 up $1,800 from the prior year. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $13,850 for 2023, up $900, and for head of household, the standard deduction will be $20,800 for tax year 2023, up $1,400 from the amount for tax year 2022.
  • Marginal Rates: For tax year 2023, the top tax rate remains 37% for individual single taxpayers with incomes greater than $578,125 ($693,750 for married couples filing jointly).

The other rates are:

  • 35% for incomes over $231,250 ($462,500 for married couples filing jointly)
  • 32% for incomes over $182,100 ($364,200 for married couples filing jointly)
  • 24% for incomes over $95,375 ($190,750 for married couples filing jointly)
  • 22% for incomes over $44,725 ($89,450 for married couples filing jointly)
  • 12% for incomes over $11,000 ($22,000 for married couples filing jointly)

The lowest rate is 10% for single individuals with incomes of $11,000 or less ($22,000 for married couples filing jointly).

  • The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2023 is $81,300 and begins to phase out at $578,150 ($126,500 for married couples filing jointly for whom the exemption begins to phase out at $1,156,300). The 2022 exemption amount was $75,900 and began to phase out at $539,900 ($118,100 for married couples filing jointly for whom the exemption began to phase out at $1,079,800).
  • The tax year 2023 maximum Earned Income Tax Credit amount is $7,430 for qualifying taxpayers who have three or more qualifying children, up from $6,935 for tax year 2022. The revenue procedure contains a table providing maximum EITC amount for other categories, income thresholds and phase-outs.
  • For the taxable years beginning in 2023, the dollar limitation for employee salary reductions for contributions to health flexible spending arrangements increases to $3,050. For cafeteria plans that permit the carryover of unused amounts, the maximum carryover amount is $610, an increase of $40 from taxable years beginning in 2022.
  • For tax year 2023, participants who have self-only coverage in a Medical Savings Account, the plan must have an annual deductible that is not less than $2,650, up $200 from tax year 2022; but not more than $3,950, an increase of $250 from tax year 2022. For self-only coverage, the maximum out-of-pocket expense amount is $5,300, up $350 from 2022. For tax year 2023, for family coverage, the annual deductible is not less than $5,300, up from $4,950 for 2022; however, the deductible cannot be more than $7,900, up $500 from the limit for tax year 2022. For family coverage, the out-of-pocket expense limit is $9,650 for tax year 2023, an increase of $600 from tax year 2022.
  • The annual exclusion for gifts increases to $17,000 for calendar year 2023, up from $16,000 for calendar year 2022.

These changes are the opportune time to sit down with your financial advisor and discuss a plan and strategy for 2023 related to your taxes and your overall financial plan.


Make sure Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are satisfied (if applicable)

Beginning at age 72, the government requires retirees to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from certain accounts. To manage the RMD process and how to deal with the tax implications, it is important to work with your trusted advisor and have a strategy that considers your financial plan and investment portfolio.

RMD Reminders

  • Remember, all your tax-deferred accounts must be considered in the RMD calculation. This includes: 401k(s), 403(b)s, IRAs (SEP, Simple, and Traditional).
  • Your RMD calculation contemplates your account balance on December 31 of the prior year and divides it by the applicable distribution period.

You Have to Take RMDs Unless:

  • It is your first RMD, you can delay it until April 1 of the year following your 72nd birthday.
  • You are still employed and part of a company retirement plan (some rules apply, so check with your financial advisor).

Meet with Your Financial Advisor Before Taking RMDs

A financial plan and tax strategy offer a means of ensuring that you are optimizing your finances and the tax implications prior to taking the RMDs. Although it may be tempting to withdraw your funds with no planning, doing so could cause significant costs later on—such as increased taxes, health care expenses, and social security taxation.

Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD)

A Qualified Charitable Distribution, or QCD, is a way to donate up to $100,000 each year directly from your IRA—and use some (or all) of that donation to satisfy the annual required minimum distribution requirement (Note: You are not allowed to use a QCD until you are at least 70 ½).

This can be a great way to help reduce your RMDs, but it’s important to note that the QCD must go directly to the charity. If you use the funds for any other purpose, they will no longer count toward your RMD requirements—and you could end up paying taxes or penalties on those amounts.

Consider tax loss harvesting opportunities

Tax-loss harvesting is a process in which you sell an investment that’s underperforming and losing money. You then use this loss to reduce your taxable capital gains and potentially offset up to $3,000 of your ordinary income. For example, by selling an investment that’s losing money and buying a similar investment with the proceeds, you are doing so at a lower cost basis. This can help reduce your overall tax liability because the loss on the sale is applied against other gains.


Planning and strategy is more important than ever before as we approach the end of 2022. It’s crucial that you take a proactive approach to your finances and ensure that you’re not missing out on any opportunities. Whether it’s tax-loss harvesting or planning for retirement, it can help give you peace of mind and reduce stress in the long-term. If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact us.

Have a great weekend!


Golf Tip of the Week

This Simple 3-Step Formula That Will Instantly Upgrade Your Range Practice

I was at the driving range this weekend, and couldn’t help spying on some of the events that were happening a few bays down. It was a classic scene: One golfer pumping another golfer with some extremely questionable advice. A few more bays down from that was another golf ripping drive after drive, with increasingly poor results.

It was a solid reminder of an ever-present truth: Average golfers, for the most part, are really bad at practicing. They don’t have much time to work on the game, and then they waste the little time they do have.

Enter Brian Mogg, a Golf Digest Best in State Teacher, who shared a useful tip on Instagram recently about how golfers can structure their practice sessions — and instantly improve them in the process.

It’s simple enough that any golfer can do it. Here’s how.

Divide your golf balls into three batches

We’re not counting this one as a step, merely a precursor. First, you’ll need to divide your golf balls evenly into three batches. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but just in case: If you have a basket of 90 golf balls, organize them into three batches of 30 balls each. We’ll explain why…

Step 1: Wedge Warmup

For your first batch, hit some wedge shots to a variety of different short range targets. 30, 50, and 75 yards. Alternate the target with each swing.

“Really work on rhythm and trying to hit your ball to specific targets,” he says.

Step 2: Technical Work

Once dialed-in your distance control, warmed yourself up and grooved some good rhythm for the day, take a moment for some technical thoughts. Dedicate your next batch of golf balls to doing drills and improving your technique, not worrying about the result.

“If you’ve got a couple of things you’re working on, use this batch to do it,” Mogg says.

Step 3: Technical Work

And as for your final batch? Mogg says this is your time to get into game mode. Forget the technical thoughts. With these golf balls, start picking targets on the range, go through your pre-shot routine, and try to hit specific shots that you’ll encounter on the golf course.

“Play golf,” he says. “Try and hit a draw, try to hit a fade.”

Divide your practice up so it’s a third wedges, a third technical, then a third simulating what you’ll soon encounter on the golf course, and your game will be better for it.

Tip adapted from golfdigest.comi

Recipe of the Week

Pizza Candy Cane Crescent

6-8 servings


  • One 8-ounce tube refrigerated rolled crescent dough
  • 1/3 cup prepared pizza sauce, plus more for dipping
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 24 slices pepperoni
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 large fresh basil leaves


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Unroll the crescent dough and separate the triangles along the perforated lines. Cut the triangles in half lengthwise so that you have 16 triangles.
  • Overlap 2 pieces of parchment to make a 24-inch-long piece. Arrange the crescent triangles lengthwise in a long row on top of the parchment, with the pointy ends upright and the flat ends overlapping just slightly (the row should be as long as the parchment paper). Gently press the overlapping pieces of dough together so to seal. 
  • Spread the pizza sauce over the thickest part of the strip of dough (about 1 1/2-inches). Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce and top with a layer of pepperoni. 
  • Fold the pointy ends of the dough over top of the pepperoni tucking them under the dough to enclose the filling. Gently curve the top end of the dough to the left to make a candy cane shape that is the length of the back of a baking sheet. Transfer the parchment onto the back of a baking sheet. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top of the dough. Bake until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes. Tuck the basil leaves into the candy cane to make a bow. Serve with more sauce for dipping. 

Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.comii

Health Tip of the Week

Iron Loss, Deficiency, And Anemia: Signs To Watch For

When your body doesn’t have enough iron, you typically feel it. Most commonly, low iron makes you  tired, cold, and short of breath. Your skin may be pale and clammy, too.

Here’s why low iron saps your energy and takes your breath away. Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, a substance in your red blood cells that helps them carry oxygen to your organs. Without enough hemoglobin, your tissues can’t get enough oxygen to work like they should. When they struggle, you struggle.

When your hemoglobin drops below normal levels because of low iron, you have iron-deficiency anemia, the most common type.

Causes of Low Iron and Anemia

You can have low iron that leads to anemia for a number of reasons. Here are a few:

You don’t get enough iron from food. Iron-rich foods include meats, poultry, and fish, as well as cereal and bread with added iron, legumes, tofu, spinach, dried fruit, broccoli, and nuts. When your regular menu lacks iron, your body will run low on it.

Your body is changing. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or going through a growth spurt, your body needs more iron — and more red blood cells — than usual. If you don’t get more, your iron levels will dip.

You have problems with your GI tract. Your body takes in most of its iron through the upper small intestine. Issues with your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as celiac disease or a problem after GI surgery, can keep you from absorbing iron through your gut. Some medications for reducing stomach acid can also lower iron absorption.

You have a condition that prevents your gut from absorbing iron. Chronic kidney disease is often to blame.

You’ve lost blood. When a lot of blood leaves your body, your iron levels plummet. This might result from bleeding in your gut, your period, or an injury.


Low iron affects everyone a little differently. Some people notice no symptoms at all. The most common effects of low iron include:

  • Extreme fatigue and weakness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Pounding in your ears

You might also see physical changes that point to low iron. Common ones include:

  • Sore or swollen tongue
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of color in your skin or yellow skin

You could also crave non-food items such as ice, starch, clay, or dirt.

Getting Diagnosed

Doctors have several tools to help them find out if you have low iron or iron-deficiency anemia. First, they’ll do a physical exam to check for symptoms.

Next, your doctor will order blood tests, including one called a complete blood count (CBC). This shows how many red blood cells you have, how big they are, and what shape they are. You may also get further tests specific to iron.

When you have low iron or iron-deficiency anemia, these test results usually show:

Low hemoglobin (Hg). Remember, iron helps make hemoglobin. So when iron is low, hemoglobin can run low. Normal is 13.2 to 16.6 grams per deciliter (g/dL) for men and 11.6 to 15 g/dL for women.

Low hematocrit (Hct). That’s the volume of red blood cells in your blood. Normal is 35.5 to 44.9 percent for adult women and 38.3 to 48.6 percent for adult men.

Low mean corpuscular volume (MCV). This test shows the size of your red blood cells. Normal is 80 to 95 femtoliters (fL).

Low ferritin. Ferritin is a protein in your blood that stores iron. When iron runs low, so does ferritin. Normal ferritin is 24 to 336 micrograms per liter (mcg/L) for men and 11 to 307 mcg/L for women.

Low serum iron (FE). This is a measure of the iron in your serum — fluid in blood that isn’t part of the clotting process. A normal result is 60 to 170 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL).

High transferrin or total iron-binding capacity (TIBC). This is a measure of your blood’s ability to attach itself to iron and move it around. A normal test result is 204 to 260 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

You may also get other tests to help your doctor figure out why your iron is low, such as:

Endoscopy or colonoscopy. In these tests, a doctor looks at your GI tract through a tiny camera to see if problems there might be causing bleeding or interfering with iron absorption.

Pelvic ultrasound or uterine biopsy. If heavy periods are causing your iron loss, your doctor might order one of these tests to understand what’s to blame.

The treatment your doctor recommends for low iron or iron-deficiency anemia will depend on the cause.

Tip adapted from webmd.comiii 

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Please review Ballentine Capital Advisors Disclosure Brochure for a complete explanation of fees. Investing involves risks. Investments are not guaranteed and may lose value.

This material is prepared by Ballentine Capital Advisors for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for personalized investment advice or as a recommendation or solicitation or any particular security, strategy, or investment product.

No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve future profits or losses similar to those shown. You should not assume that investment decisions we make in the future will be profitable or equal the investment performance of the past. Past performance does not indicate future results.

Advisory services through Ballentine Capital Advisors, Inc.


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