I am going to sell some of my stock for a personal expense. I've owned the stocks for maybe 2 years.
Is it a good idea to do so before Jan 1 to avoid getting hit with an increase in capital gains taxes?
I usually start to answer a question of this type with "Don't Let the Tax Tail Wag the Investing Dog."
But, it seems you are specifically asking about a 12/26 sale vs a 1/2 sale. And the fiscal cliff, to clarify, is not referencing the potential market moves that might occur if no agreement is reached, but with regards to the cap gain rate potentially going from a maximum 15% for long term (1 year+ holding period) to one's normal rate, for you, maybe from 15% to 25%.
If the difference is truly days, the sale is planned for money you need, I see no harm, and possibly a bit of gain by pulling the sale into this year.
Welcome to SE, Kevin. Hope to see you here again.