The last few years of a bull market are always a bit of a mystery to professional investors; the market rises faster than it did in the early, cautious years when nobody believed there WAS a bull market, even though there appear to be fewer fundamental or economic reasons for it. The current bull market churns on, even if nobody can explain it, and people who bail out in anticipation of a downturn do so at the risk of missing out on an untold number of months or years of (still somewhat inexplicable) gains. As nice as the returns have been domestically, international stocks this year have been even kinder to investment portfolios.
1. Pay Yourself First
The utilization of company retirement plans (401-k's and Simple IRA's) are the easiest way to build up tax advantaged assets for your retirement goals. Verify that you are contributing the amount required in order to maximize the employer's match. Above that amount it would usually be prudent to try to contribute the maximum amount possible in order to minimize your income tax liability.
As you get ready for your 2015 tax preparation, we have a few helpful tips so that you can quickly and efficiently ready yourself for your tax appointment. First and foremost – BE ORGANIZED! Remember that Time is Money. Most firms provide 'Organizers' for you to fill out, take a few moments and compare your current year data to your prior year – this will allow you to determine if there is anything that you may have inadvertently forgotten.
You will need to gather all of your W-2's, 1099's, K-1's, to name a few. If you are self-employed be sure that your books are up to date and it is helpful to have all your financials available (i.e. Balance Sheet & Income Statement).