Your Ultimate 2014 Financial Calendar
1. Up Your Retirement Contributions
If you’re saving in a 401(k) and aren’t already on track to max it out, increase your contributions by 1%. If you have an IRA, and you’re not saving $458.33 each month (or $541.66 per month if you’re 50 or older), try to increase your monthly contributions by $100.
2. Analyze Your Energy Spending
The heat of the summer can drive up energy costs, so review your bills and get an idea of appropriate rates for your area using this handy tool. If you discover that you’re overpaying, call providers and ask if there’s any wiggle room on your bill.
3. Buy Big Ticket Items on July 4th
The holiday isn’t an excuse to go on a shopping binge, but if you’re looking to purchase a pricey item, like a flat-screen TV or a grill, now may be the time to pull the trigger. Independence Day promotions often offer great deals on these larger items—just be sure to do a little researchbefore you head to the store.
4. Review Your Investing Strategy
You’ll probably want to focus on some R&R in August, so consider checking off this important money task before you power down next month. Specifically, if your major life goals—like buying a home or saving for a wedding—are more than ten years away, you may want to retool your approach to investing to help you reach your target more quickly. To set up investments outside of a 401(k) or an IRA, set up an appointment with a financial professional and read LearnVest’s checklist: I Want to Set Up an Investment Account.
1. Check Your Credit Score
It’s that time again: Review your credit score at Credit Karma, paying special attention to any fraudulent charges, so you can report it to your credit card company immediately.
2. Look Into Your Employer’s Open Enrollment Period
Each fall, employees have a brief window of time when they can make changes to their insurance policies or set up and adjust contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs). So review your current benefits situation, check out any new options that are available and decide whether you should make any switches. And don’t forget to consider disability insurance and life insurance, if your employer offers them.
RELATED: Your Open Enrollment To-Do List
3. Start Saving for College
The start of a new school season is just around the corner, and even if your kid isn’t close to heading off for college yet, it’s never too early to begin investing for the university years. A good first step? Set up a college savings account for your child, like a 529 plan. Already have one? Consider asking family to contribute to that account in lieu of gifts for your kid’s next birthday or holiday.
1. Pay Your Tax Bill if You’re Self-Employed, Own a Small Business or Freelance
Q3 estimated tax payments are due September 15.
2. Start Planning for Year-End Taxes
It’s never too early to get a head start on your taxes. Reach out to your CPA or another tax professional to make sure that you’ve been withholding enough, and whether there are any other steps you can take now to lower your tax bill for 2015.
3. Confirm Your Thanksgiving Travel Plans
It may be two months away, but for the best deals on flights, book your tickets on the Tuesday after Labor Day.
4. Review Your Credit Report
For the second time this year, download a copy of your credit report from Annualcreditreport.com. Just remember that each of the bureaus will only give you one free copy a year, so if you received a copy from Equifax in May, pull your report from either TransUnion or Experian now.
5. Update Your Roth IRA
If you converted to a Roth IRA in 2013, and it subsequently lost a lot of money, you can “recharacterize” until October 15. This means that you can revert back to a traditional IRA or move the money into your 401(k) and get back the taxes you paid on the higher amount, before changing it once again to a Roth IRA. Unsure of whether this is a good move for you? You may want to speak with a LearnVest Planning Services Certified Financial Planner™.
RELATED: Top Retirement Mistakes to Avoid