Yearly calendars tend to fill up fast. Here are some important dates that you may want to add to your 2020 reminders. "Whether you put it on a physical calendar or in your phone, the mere act of recording something increases the probability that you will follow through," says Heather Winston, CFP®, assistant director of financial advice and planning at Principal®. (Hey, it's backed by neuroscience!)
P.S. We made a version you can save to your desktop or print, too (PDF).
January: Set 2020 goals
Take a few minutes to envision what you want to accomplish this year … got it? Our five-step plan
can help you prioritize and create specific, measurable goals (worksheet included).
Fourth quarter 2019 estimated tax payments
are due if you’re self-employed or not having enough withheld from your income; they should be postmarked by January 15.
February: Organize your taxes
You should receive your W-2 and other interest and dividend income statements for bank accounts and investments by the beginning of February. Keep a checklist of all the financial institutions that will send you tax documents
and organize statements and forms as they arrive.
March: Bonuses and Medicare
You may be expecting a bonus or pay increase come March. What will you do with it? Start by learning some smart saving strategies
If you’re on Medicare, this is the last day to apply for Parts A and B. Coverage begins in July. Learn more or get enrolled at medicare.gov.
April: Tax time (usually)
Typically, April 15 is Tax Day, but this year, the IRS extended the federal tax filing deadline to July 15. However, if you're expecting a refund, the IRS suggests filing sooner rather than later.
May: Get your refund
June: Last call for FAFSA filing
Though the federal deadline to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form for the 2020-2021 school year is June 30, the sooner you file for FAFSA, the better (see October). States and colleges may have their own deadlines, which could be earlier, so look yours up on the Federal Student Aid website.
July: 2020 tax time
The IRS is giving you three extra months to file federal taxes this year, moving the deadline to July 15. This date marks a few deadlines:
- Last day to file your taxes or ask for an extension. Send IRS Form 4868 (PDF) to get an extension to October 15, 2020.
- Final date to make a 2019 health savings account (HSA) or individual retirement account (IRA) contributions (if you're 50 or older, this includes catch-up contributions).
- First and second quarter 2020 estimated taxes are due (if you're self-employed or underpaying based on your income).
- Learn more about this delayed deadline at irs.gov.
September: Tax payment
Third quarter estimated tax payment deadline (if you’re self-employed or underpaying based on your income).
October: FAFSA and benefits
Have someone heading to college in 2021? October 1 is the first day to file FAFSA. It’s smart to file early. Some colleges award on a first-come, first-served basis. Plus, it gives you more time to plan, financially.
October 1–November 1:
Enrollment period for employer benefits starts in the fall. Review your health election, 401(k), and other employee benefits like life and disability insurance to see if they’re still meeting your needs. A couple tips for this year’s benefits:
- Use any flexible spending account (FSA) funds for qualified medical expenses by the end of the year. That money generally won’t roll over into next year.
- If you have a health savings account (HSA), that money will roll over and is tax-deferred, so consider maxing it.
Did you file for an extension on your taxes? If so, this is your new deadline.
November: Healthcare and student loans
December: RMDs and charity
This is the last day to enroll or change plans for 2021 federal health coverage.
Required minimum distributions (RMDs) in 2020 are delayed thanks to legislation under the CARES Act, basically meaning you can choose not to take yours this year. Typically, if you turned 70½ in 2019, you'd have until April 1 to take your RMD for 2019 and would need to take another for the year 2020 by December 31, 2020. Here's why that's important: Withdrawing less than your RMD, or missing the deadline, can lead to a tax penalty of up to 50% of the amount you were supposed to withdraw. Just turning 70½ this year? You won't need to take an RMD until the year you turn 72. You can read more about other recent updates that may impact your retirement savings.
This is also the last day to make any charitable contributions to impact your 2020 taxes.
Turning 55 or older? Check out our list of retirement milestones. If they’ll apply to you in 2020, add your birthday to your financial calendar, too.
Oh, and remember, if you turn 26 this year, you’ll get kicked off Mom and Dad’s health insurance plan. Add a reminder to your calendar to sign up through your employer or explore plans at healthcare.gov.
A credit score is kind of like a report card for your finances—it’s important to know where you stand so you can make improvements, if needed. Choose three dates throughout the year to do a free credit check through Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.