This post was authored by Haley Spanier, Dunham's Marketing Communications Associate. If you have questions concerning today's topic, please call us at (858) 964 - 0500. Hold us to higher standards.

And just like that, as quickly as 2021 began, it came to a close. The end of the year can often catch us by surprise as we dive into everything from hosting holiday events to reviewing those final Q4 numbers. Before you get caught in the whirlwind of events leading up to the New Year, you’ll want to make sure you have set aside sufficient time for annual reviews with your valued clients.

The end of the year is a necessary time to reconvene with clients. It’s the perfect time to summarize what the past year has brought to their portfolios and begin preparing for the year to come. You’ll want to bring your clients up-to-date with the flurry of major economic events that occurred in 2021. You’ll also want to provide them with the positive reinforcement they’ll need to have financial confidence heading into 2022.

Here are six topics for financial advisors to discuss during annual reviews. You can use these topics to bring an extra level of attention and support to your clients and help prepare them for what’s to come in the New Year.

Review their Investment Portfolio

As the year comes to a close, your clients will likely want to review their portfolios and see how well their funds have performed. Did their portfolio successfully meet the targets you set together at the beginning of the year? If not, are there certain areas that can be re-balanced? An annual review is a great time to evaluate how your clients currently feel about their portfolio and make any necessary adjustments.

Perhaps as they get older, they may want to decrease the amount of risk they are taking on. Maybe they want to make adjustments based on economic trends, such as inflation. Find out what your clients liked about their portfolio this year and what they didn’t.

Set Goals for Next Year

After reviewing their investment portfolio, you can work together to set goals for the upcoming year. Perhaps they want to set aside some money for their grandchildren’s college funds, a lengthy trip they are planning, or a substantial purchase such as a home or real estate. Some clients may want to begin dedicating a certain amount of their wealth annually to charitable giving. Discuss your client’s personal goals for the upcoming year to see how you can adjust their finances accordingly.

Prepare for the Upcoming Tax Season

The IRS recently released its inflation adjustments on various items for the year 2022. Go over any potential changes that will affect your client’s tax return. A large adjustment to their income, significant donations and charitable gifts, and capital gains may all have an impact on your client as their taxes are filed.

Discuss if any of these events occurred for your clients during 2021. Dunham’s Key Financial Data Sheet for 2022 is a great tool to use as you conduct your tax planning. Fill out this form to be put on the waitlist to receive your free laminated copy.

Review their Estate Plan and Beneficiary Documents

Estate planning can sometimes be a difficult subject to bring up with clients -- approach this topic with compassion and understanding. Remind your clients that you have their best interests at heart! Ensure their chosen beneficiaries are up-to-date on their retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other estate planning documents. If they have a trust established, review the terms of the trust and any assets within it.

Estate planning is a complex but necessary topic that ensures their loved ones are cared for when your clients pass on.

Evaluate Their Retirement Plans

Another important topic to bring up at the end of the year is your clients’ retirement plans. If your client is still working, are they utilizing their company’s 401(k) to the best of their abilities? If they are using a Roth IRA, is it now in their best interest to transfer the funds to a traditional IRA? Finally, review the portfolios in all their retirement accounts to ensure they have enough saved away for retirement. Be sure to account for any significant events your clients’ have planned for during their retirements, such as travel, funding their children or grandchildren’s education, weddings, and more.

Schedule Periodic Meetings for the Rest of 2022

The end of the year is the perfect time to schedule future meetings with your clients before the busy year gets in the way. Touch base with your clients to see what the upcoming year has in store for them. Do they have any big travel plans that will make them unavailable to meet? Determine how frequently you will need to meet in the upcoming year and when your clients will be available. That way, you will already have time scheduled with them and a mental plan of items to discuss.

Access Your Free Laminated Key Financial Data Sheet for 2022

The key financial data sheet for 2022 can be a great tool for you to use when discussing tax changes in your clients’ annual reviews. Click the button below to fill out a quick form and you will be added to our waitlist to receive a free laminated key financial data sheet for 2022.

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Disclosure: This communication is general in nature and provided for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be considered or relied upon as legal, tax or investment advice or an investment recommendation, or as a substitute for legal or tax counsel. Any investment products or services named herein are for illustrative purposes only, and should not be considered an offer to buy or sell, or an investment recommendation for, any specific security, strategy or investment product or service. Always consult a qualified professional or your own independent financial professional for personalized advice or investment recommendations tailored to your specific goals, individual situation, and risk tolerance.