Educational Articles

Optimize Your Savings: 10 Tax-Planning Strategies for 2024

By Steve Griffin, CFP ® and Kelly Goldstein

At Full Spectrum Financial Group, we make tax considerations a significant part of financial planning. While it’s tempting to delay until tax season, taking a proactive stance about your tax-planning strategies can save you both time and money in your retirement plan.

Our dedicated team is committed to assisting our clients in preserving their hard-earned wealth, and it’s our priority to help you reduce your tax liability and increase your savings. Below are 10 tax-planning strategies for 2024, to help you keep more in your pocket.

1. Maximize Your Retirement Contributions

Maximizing your retirement contributions is one of the best ways to minimize your tax liability. This is because retirement plans offer useful tax advantages that are not available if you were to simply put your money in a savings account. There are several accounts to consider, depending on your unique circumstances:

  • 401(k), 403(b), and 457 Plans: These accounts allow you to contribute up to $23,000 annually for 2024 ($30,500 if over age 50). Not only that, but contributions done pre-tax won’t show up as part of your annual income. This is a great way to defer taxes until your retirement years when you could potentially be in a lower tax bracket.
  • Traditional IRA: Contributing to a traditional IRA is another way to reduce your tax liability if your income is within certain limits. You can contribute up to $6,500 for 2023 and $7,000 for 2024, with a $1,000 catch-up contribution limit for those over age 50. Unlike the qualified retirement plans listed above, contributions to a traditional IRA can be made until the April 15th tax filing deadline.
  • Roth IRA: This is an attractive savings vehicle for many reasons, including no required minimum distributions (RMDs), tax-free withdrawals after age 59½, and the ability to pass wealth tax-free to your heirs. The contribution limits are the same as traditional IRAs. However, Roth IRAs have income restrictions and you may not be able to open an account outright if your income is above certain limits.

2. Consider Roth Conversions

If you are outside of the income eligibility threshold for Roth IRAs but still want to take advantage of the Roth tax benefits, a Roth conversion could be the right strategy for you. It works by paying the income tax on your pre-tax traditional IRA and converting the funds to a Roth IRA.

You could also consider the mega backdoor Roth and backdoor Roth IRA strategies:

  • Mega Backdoor Roth: With this strategy, you would convert a portion of your 401(k) plan to a Roth. This involves first maximizing the after-tax, non-Roth contributions in your plan, then rolling it over to either a Roth 401(k) or your Roth IRA. With the mega backdoor Roth, you convert a portion of your 401(k) plan to Roth dollars.
  • Backdoor Roth IRA: In this case, you would make an after-tax (non-deductible) contribution to a traditional IRA. You then immediately convert the funds to a Roth IRA to prevent any earnings from accumulating. This strategy makes sense if you don’t already have an IRA set up yet.

These two Roth conversion strategies will allow the contributions to grow completely tax-free and allow you to avoid future RMDs, which is helpful if you expect to be in a higher tax bracket in the future.

There are a number of serious future tax-related matters to consider before entering into a backdoor Roth strategy. Also, this type of strategy could affect Social Security benefits and Medicare premiums. This is why you should talk to your tax advisor before making any decisions regarding this strategy.

3. Contribute to a Health Savings Account

An efficient but underutilized way to maximize your savings and minimize your taxes is to contribute to a health savings account (HSA). HSAs offer triple tax savings: contributions are tax-deductible, earnings grow tax-free, and you can withdraw the funds tax-free to pay for medical expenses. Unused funds roll over each year and will essentially become an IRA at age 65, at which point you can withdraw funds penalty-free for non-medical expenses. You must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan in order to qualify for an HSA.

HSAs can be a great tax-management tool if you are able to pay medical expenses out of pocket and leave the HSA funds to grow. The 2023 contribution limits for HSAs are $3,850 for individuals and $7,750 for families. (The 2024 limits increased to $4,150 and $8,300, respectively.) If you are 55 or older, you may also be able to make catch-up contributions of $1,000 per year. You have until April 15th for your contributions to count for the previous year’s tax return.

4. Contribute to a Donor-Advised Fund

Many retirees consider giving to charity a high priority in retirement. If you itemize your tax deductions because of charitable contributions, you may want to consider investing in a donor-advised fund (DAF). This is a charitable investment account for the sole purpose of supporting charitable organizations you care about. You can contribute a lump sum all at once and then distribute those funds to various charities over several years. With this strategy, you can itemize deductions when you make the initial contribution and then take the standard deduction in the following years, allowing you to make the most out of your donation tax-wise.

You can also donate appreciated stock, which can further maximize your tax savings. By donating the appreciated position, you avoid paying the capital gain tax that would have been due upon sale of the stock and you are effectively donating more to your charities of choice than if you had sold the stock and donated the proceeds.

5. Make a Qualified Charitable Donation

If you own a qualified retirement account and are at least 70½, you can use a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) to receive a tax benefit for your charitable giving. Since this is an above-the-line deduction, it can be used in conjunction with other charitable tax strategies. A QCD is a distribution made from your retirement account directly to your charity of choice. It can also count toward your RMD when you turn age 73, but unlike RMDs, it won’t count toward your taxable income. Individuals can donate up to $100,000 in QCDs per year, which means a married couple can contribute a combined amount of $200,000!

6. Utilize Tax-Loss Harvesting

Tax-loss harvesting involves selling investments at a loss in order to offset the gains in your portfolio. By realizing a capital loss, you are able to counterbalance the taxes owed on capital gains. The investments that are sold are usually replaced with similar securities in order to maintain the desired asset allocation and expected return.

With the ups and downs the market experienced in 2023, chances are you have some capital losses that can be utilized. For example, if you are expecting a large capital gain this year, sell an underperforming stock and harvest the losses to offset your gain.

Tax-loss harvesting can also be used to reduce your ordinary income tax liability if capital losses exceed capital gains. In this case, up to $3,000 can be deducted from your income, and capital losses in excess of this amount can be carried forward to later tax years.

7. Understand Long-Term vs. Short-Term Capital Gains

Understanding the tax implications of long-term versus short-term capital gains can go a long way in reducing your tax liability. For instance, in 2023 a married taxpayer would have paid 0% capital gains tax on their long-term capital gains if their taxable income falls below $89,250. That rate jumps to 15% and 20% for taxable incomes that exceed $89,250 and $553,850, respectively. Understanding where you fall on the tax table is an important part of minimizing your liability.

Gains that are short-term in nature (held less than one year) will be taxed at your marginal tax bracket, which could be up to 37%! Knowing both the nature of your gain, as well as your tax bracket, is crucial information if you want to minimize your tax liability.

8. Take a Qualified Business Income Deduction

Business owners involved in partnerships, S corporations, or sole proprietorships can take a qualified business income deduction (QBID) to help reduce taxable income and maximize tax savings. This allows for a maximum deduction of 20% of qualified business income, but limits apply if your taxable income exceeds a certain threshold. To qualify for this deduction, consider reducing or deferring income so that you can remain below the phase-out threshold. A great way to do this is to maximize your retirement contributions to tax-advantaged accounts (as discussed in point #1).

9. Consider Estate Tax-Planning Techniques

Estate tax-planning techniques can also be an effective way to reduce current-year tax liability and play an important role in a retirement financial plan. For 2024, the lifetime exemption for assets that can be given gift-tax free is estimated at $13.61 million for individuals and $27.22 for married couples (12.92 million for 2023).

The annual gift tax exclusion increased to $18,000 per recipient in 2024, up from $17,000 in 2023. This is the annual amount taxpayers can give tax-free without using any of the above-mentioned lifetime exemptions. Not only that, but the annual exclusion applies on a per-person basis, so each taxpayer can give $18,000 per person to any number of people per year.

Though gifting and other estate tax-planning strategies are not tax-deductible, they can help to significantly reduce your taxable estate over time.

10. Make Sure Your Advisory Team Is Working Together

Beyond consulting with a tax professional, you’ll want to be sure your entire financial team is working together to provide cohesive oversight and guidance for your retirement strategy. This should include professionals like CPAs, financial advisors, investment advisors, and estate attorneys. Your finances don’t exist in a bubble and so neither will your tax-minimization strategies. When your advisory team works together, strategies are easier to identify and execute, and proactive tax solutions become much easier to implement, reducing stress and your tax bill.

Take Action Today

Tax planning is a part of a retirement strategy that can seem complicated and confusing. We at Full Spectrum Financial Group understand that navigating the complexities of taxes in retirement can be overwhelming given the intricate tax code, but it doesn't have to be this way. With our experience in a wide range of tax strategies, we’re here to guide you toward reducing your tax liability and increasing your savings.

Take the first step toward a holistic retirement plan by scheduling an introductory appointment. Reach out to us by calling (941) 866-6570 or emailing, and let’s team up to boost your savings and optimize your retirement and financial well-being.

Please note that neither Full Spectrum Financial Group, nor its financial professionals, provides tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal, or accounting professional before making any decisions.

About Steve

Steve Griffin, CFP ® is Principal and Founder at Full Spectrum Financial Group, a financial services firm based in Sarasota, Florida, offering innovative strategies to help clients develop a personalized plan that meets their needs for today and tomorrow. With over 20 years of financial planning experience, Steve creates custom, actionable solutions for his clients’ most complex challenges. From managing a family’s personal wealth to helping business owners focus on their big picture, he finds great fulfillment in empowering clients to make forward-focused decisions and feel more confident in their ability to reach their goals. Listening closely and taking an educated, unbiased approach, he’s able to bring organization and direction to clients’ financial lives.

Steve holds a degree in finance from the University of South Florida. Steve is held to some of the industry’s strictest standards of ethics and education as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional. He’s actively involved in several prominent industry organizations, including National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), The Financial Planning Association, The Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council, and The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), which is the Premier Association of Financial Professionals and recognized globally as the standard of excellence for life insurance sales performance in the insurance and financial services industry.

Residing in Sarasota, Florida, Steve and his wife, Trish, enjoy the area’s great restaurants and world-class beaches. Outside of the office, Steve can be found golfing, watching sports, spending time with his daughters, and cheering on his grandkids at their events. With a great appreciation for the healing power of laughter, Steve enjoys watching funny movies or stand-up comedy. He also prioritizes his faith by volunteering at his church and reading Scripture daily. Connect with Steve on LinkedIn or via email at

About Kelly

Kelly Goldstein is a Financial Planner and Wealth Advisor at Full Spectrum Financial Group, a financial services firm based in Sarasota, Florida, offering innovative strategies to help clients develop a personalized plan that meets their needs for today and tomorrow. With a passion for building strategic, holistic plans, Kelly provides clients with clarity, simplifying even the most complex subjects. She enjoys getting to know clients on a personal level and seeing the impact small decisions can make on a client’s financial well-being and progress toward their long-term goals.

Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Central Florida and an MBA from Saint Leo University. Prior to becoming a financial advisor in 2017, she taught as an adjunct professor for business and marketing courses at Saint Leo University and worked as the office manager and para-planner for her father’s firm. In pursuit of her ongoing commitment to education and self-improvement, Kelly is currently enrolled in programs to earn her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Chartered Financial Consultant® designations.

In her free time, Kelly and her husband, Joe, enjoy golfing, traveling, spending time at the beach, and attending Tampa Bay Lightning hockey games. She is also involved in several industry and community organizations, including the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), the Lakewood Ranch Business Association (LWRBA), the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, and the Sarasota-Manatee Human Resource Association. Connect with Kelly on LinkedIn or via email at

Steve Griffin and Kelly Goldstein are Financial Advisers offering Investment Advisory Services through Eagle Strategies LLC a Registered Investment Adviser and Registered Reps offering securities through NYLIFE Securities LLC FINRA/SIPC, a Licensed Insurance Agency. They are licensed to sell insurance through New York Life Insurance Company and may be licensed with various other independent unaffiliated insurance companies not in all jurisdictions.

Neither Full Spectrum Financial Group, nor NYL, nor its agents, provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal, or accounting professionals before making any decisions. Full Spectrum Financial Group is not owned or operated by NYLIC or its affiliates.