Many people feel obligated, and rightly so, to circle certain dates on their calendar at the beginning of the year. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and planned vacation dates are the most common but far fewer people mark financial dates as something to look forward to. If you miss an anniversary you are likely to hear about it from your significant other, but financial dates not so much. Yet failing to recognize a financial date can cost you the price of the anniversary gift – and far more.
Here is a list of the 10 important financial dates to pay attention to in 2018.
1. Your Birthday
Start by looking in the mirror and stating your age. There are several advantages to celebrating your own birthday from a financial perspective, so even if you forget about it for a few days you can still get the maximum advantage.
Some key celebratory years are:
50 – Hitting the Big 5-0 allows you to use the “catch-up provision” for investment vehicles such as IRAs and 401(k) plans. The amount you can contribute to an IRA jumps by $1,000 a year, while 401(k) contributions jump an additional $6,000 per calendar year.
59.5 – This is the first (half) year when you are eligible to withdraw from retirement accounts that qualify under IRS provisions and you do not have to worry about an IRS early withdrawal penalty. Prior to 59.5 you will have to pay a 10 percent penalty for withdrawals, though there are specific exceptions under 401(k) plans. Check with your financial advisor for more details.
62 – When you hit the magic number 62 you are officially old(er) because you are eligible to begin receiving Social Security benefits. However, you may want to make sure everything is in order at age 62 minus one month.
65 – Given the chaotic state of health care right now, hitting age 65 makes you eligible to apply for Medicare Part A, your basic hospitalization coverage. You can start the application process 3 months prior to your 65th birthday.
65, 66, and/or 67 – No, this is not a lottery but the ages when you can you can begin collecting full retirement benefits from Social Security. The year you were born will determine the exact age. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov to determine what your exact age is.
Here are the other nine dates, in calendar order.
2. March 31
This year’s filing deadline for Federal and state taxes is April 17th, but when it comes to people who have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) this is often the deadline for plans that have a use-it-or-lose-it rollover rule. Any claims for medical expenses must be submitted by this date or you will not be able to count them as deductions. For people who are eligible to receive Medicare, this is the last date to enroll. Coverage will begin on July 1st, but in many cases you will have to pay a late enrollment fee.
3. April 1
If you made it to 70.5 years old, congratulations! But this is about the calendar year, not your birthday. The year you reach 70.5, by April 1st of that year you are required to start taking the minimum deductions from your IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or any other retirement savings plans. Some retirement plans are exempt from this requirement, but consult with your financial advisor for the details.
4. April 17
Why everyone gets excited about the 2 extra days to file your income taxes is puzzling, since that means you will either delay your refund or be sweating the weekend finishing up your taxes. If you’re wondering why the extra day since April 15th falls on a Sunday, the answer is that April 16th is Emancipation Day, so IRS workers are off. It is also the deadline to file for an extension on submitting your return.
5. June 15
If you took advantage of the automatic extension to delay filing your Federal return, time’s up. Definitely mark this one on your calendar if you took the extension. If you need more time, you can apply for an additional 4 month extension.
6. June 30
An important date for many college students, this is the final date you can apply to receive student financial aid from the Federal government for the 2017–2018 school year. The form you must complete is the FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Since it is free, there is no reason for you not to file. You are not obligated to accept any financial award given to you.
7. September 15
This is a pre-emptive strike date, as it were. The vast majority of employers will be announcing the open enrollment period for your company benefits, which is usually between October 1 and November 1. Take the time to review your current plans and know what changes need to be made.
8. October 15
If you extended out the time to file your Federal taxes 6 months beyond the April 17th due date, the hourglass has now run out.
9. November 1
This is the first day of the now famous Open Enrollment period using the government’s website, www.healthcare.gov. Remember that there is a penalty assessed if you do not have health care coverage for the previous calendar year.
10. December 31
Before beginning your New Year’s celebrations, you want to go over all your retirement accounts and see where you can make eligible contributions so you can include them on your taxes for the current calendar year.