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Your Year-End Financial Checklist

Help start 2020 on stronger financial footing with this end-of-2019 checklist.

Whether it’s reviewing your investment portfolio, deciding to convert your retirement accounts to a Roth IRA, or putting the finishing touches on your charitable donations, this list of to-dos can help you end 2019 on a financial high note.


  • REVIEW your investment portfolio, making sure your asset allocation aligns with your financial goals, life events, and potential impact from tax law changes.
  • DETERMINE your capital gains tax bracket (0%, 15%, 20%) to help decide whether to realize or defer any income from the sale of assets.
  • FILE 2018 federal income tax forms if subject to extension – individual income tax return (Form 1040) or trust/estate income tax return (Form 1041).
  • CONSIDER setting up a SIMPLE/safe harbor 401(k), if applicable.
  • THINK about establishing a new profit sharing, non-safe-harbor 401(k) or defined benefit plan (calendar-year taxpayers).
  • REVIEW your Medicare Part D choices if you currently receive Medicare benefits. Enrollment window: October 15–December 7.


  • PLAN to complete charitable and family member gifts, including opening donor-advised funds and depositing contributions, before December 31.
  • EVALUATE your current retirement benefits, if you’re retired.
  • REVIEW your beneficiary designations and make adjustments for significant life events.
  • CONSULT the Social Security Administration to determine your Social Security benefits and how to apply (for those turning 66 or planning to retire in 2019).
  • CHECK with the Social Security Administration to determine how and when to apply for Medicare (for those approaching age 65 or planning to retire in 2019).
  • CONFIRM your current flexible spending account balance and verify your plan’s rules for rollovers of unused funds. If the rollover option is not available to you, or if your balance exceeds the permissible amount, plan to spend the balance on qualified health care expenses before the end of the year.
    If you’re selling assets for tax-loss harvesting purposes by the end of the year but want to maintain exposure to that asset class, make sure your new position is in place by November 29 to avoid violating the wash-sale rule. Learn more about the wash-sale rule in the 2019 Tax Planning Guide from Wells Fargo Private Bank.


  • CONSIDER completing any tax-loss harvesting sales to offset capital gains in your portfolio.
  • TAKE 2019 required minimum distributions from traditional IRAs and most qualified plans (if you reached age 70½ before 2019).
  • THINK about making a 529 plan contribution.
  • CONSIDER converting eligible retirement accounts to a Roth IRA, if beneficial.
  • COMPLETE any personal gifts and charitable contributions by December 31.
  • CONSIDER selling shares acquired through the 2019 exercise of incentive stock options in disqualifying disposition to limit AMT exposure.

Contact your relationship manager at Wells Fargo Private Bank to learn more about strategies for year-end planning. We can help you create your plan, track your progress, and suggest course corrections.

What can Wells Fargo do for you?

Talk to us about tax-efficient strategies to consider.

Wells Fargo & Company and its affiliates do not provide legal advice. Wells Fargo Advisors does not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax and legal advisors to determine how this information may apply to your own situation. Whether any planned tax result is realized by you depends on the specific facts of your own situation at the time your taxes are prepared.

Trust services available through banking and trust affiliates in addition to non-affiliated companies of Wells Fargo Advisors.


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