Key dates to bookmark for the year ahead.
By Jessica L. Anderson, Associate Editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.
1 – Parents of college-bound high school seniors: Fill out Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
4 – First trading day of 2010.
7 – Set financial goals, update your budget and resolve to pay off holiday debt (see “Four Ways to Trim Your Spending”).
8 – Convert traditional IRA to a Roth; income limits for conversions are gone.
15 – Estimated federal taxes for the fourth quarter of 2009 are due.
20 – Consult with a financial planner: Your Money Bus stops in Greensboro, N.C.
21 – Seniors: If you’re over 70½, talk to your IRA administrators about resuming regular required minimum distribution payments.
26 – Federal Open Market Committee meets to review interest rates.
2 – Think taxes: Your 1098, 1099 and W-2 statements should arrive by today. Finish gathering tax documents and put them in a folder for later.
4 – Your Money Bus stops in Charleston, S.C.
7 – Billions of dollars in bets will be riding on Super Bowl XLIV.
12 – Investors: Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has gone down 15 of the past 18 years on the day before Presidents Day weekend. You could pick up some cheap shares.
15 – Presidents Day. Before you hit the sales, take our quiz to find out what kind of spender you are.
22 – New credit-card rules go into effect.
22 – Your Money Bus stops in Palm Beach, Fla.
1 – Shoulder season starts today and runs through May. Look for bargains on travel.
3 – Keep an eye out for proxy forms. They’ll let you vote on shareholder issues without being present at the annual meeting.
6 – Think taxes: Assign value to stuff you donated to charity if you itemize deductions.
9 – Your Money Bus stops in Birmingham, Ala.
14 – Daylight Savings Time begins. Spring forward.
15 – Deadline to empty your 2009 health-care flexible spending account (if your plan allows the 2½-month grace period).
16 – Federal Open Market Committee meets to review interest rates.
19 – Triple Witching Day for the stock market: Contracts for stock-index futures, stock-index options and stock options all expire together. Brace for volatile trading.
1 – It’s Financial Literacy Month. Take the Kiplinger quiz on your financial know-how.
1 – Seniors: Deadline for taking your first required minimum distribution from IRAs and other retirement accounts.
2 – Your Money Bus stops in Cleveland.
3 – Prepare your income-tax return this weekend.
12 – First-quarter earnings announcements for the Dow Jones industrials begin with Alcoa.
15 – File your tax return or request an extension. Estimated federal taxes for the first quarter are due.
16 – Expect a big tax refund? Adjust your withholding.
22 – Earth Day. Save money and the planet by switching to compact fluorescent bulbs.
27 – Federal Open Market Committee meets to review interest rates.
1 – Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, in Omaha. Treasury announces semiannual I-bond rates.
2 – Mother’s Day is May 9. Find a gift deal at www.dodtracker.com.
6 – Your Money Bus stops in Fort Worth.
11 - Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Glacier National Park. A visit to one of the 58 national parks is a great idea for an inexpensive summer getaway.
12 – Book a tune-up for your air-conditioning or sprinkler system before summer sets in.
19 – Start planning your summer vacation (use a booking site such as Kayak.com).
27 – College-bound high school grads: Complete student-loan applications, including those for federal Stafford loans and federal PLUS loans for parents.
30 - Use your tax refund to pay down credit-card balances or seed an emergency fund.
1 – Investors: The stock market historically dips the week after Memorial Day. Look for cheap buys.
3 – Your Money Bus stops in San Diego.
7 – Recent college grads: Consolidate student loans. Make a money-smart plan for what to do with your graduation cash (start an IRA, create an emergency fund).
12 – Shop for Father’s Day on June 20.
15 – Estimated federal taxes for the second quarter are due.
17 – Your Money Bus stops in Portland, Ore.
21 – Investors: Dow down 17 of the past 19 years-don’t sell this week.
22 – Federal Open Market Committee meets to review interest rates.
2 – Midyear financial checkup: Update the goals you set in January and rebalance your portfolio, if necessary.
4 – Independence Day. Break free from debt by tallying up what you owe and making a plan to pay it off.
7 – Your Money Bus stops in Colorado Springs.
12 – Second-quarter earnings announcements for the Dow Jones industrials begin with Alcoa.
21 – Reshop your auto insurance (www.insweb.com), homeowners coverage (www.accucoverage.com) and life insurance (www.accuquote.com).
26 – If you’re over 50, find out about long-term-care insurance: Take our quiz to learn more.
1 – Shop early for an end-of-the-model-year car deal. You’ll get the best combination of price and selection as dealers clear inventory.
3 – This is the month for statewide sales-tax holidays for back-to-school shopping. Find out whether your state has one.
5 – Your Money Bus stops in Omaha.
9 – Investors: Prepare to hunker down. From 1988 to 2005, August was the worst month for the Dow and the S&P 500.
10 – Federal Open Market Committee meets to review interest rates.
24 – Investors: Look for the market to gain strength. The end of the month has been strong for the past five years.
26 – Renegotiate the rate on your credit card.
1 – Fall marks open-enrollment season for employer health-insurance plans. Review your options, even if you can keep the same coverage.
2 – Start scouting for deals for holiday travel. Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly, with the exception of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
3 – Investors: Watch for stock-market instability. Triple-digit Dow moves are commonplace leading up to Labor Day.
9 – Your Money Bus stops in Milwaukee.
15 - Estimated tax payments for the third quarter are due. Deadline for submitting corrections to your FAFSA.
21 - Federal Open Market Committee meets to review interest rates.
30 – Your Money Bus stops in Washington, D.C.
1 – If you’re self-employed, deadline to establish a Simple IRA.
2 – Financial Fitness Workshop, in New York City.
7 – Third-quarter earnings announcements for the Dow Jones industrials begin with Alcoa.
8 – If you’ve lost money on a Roth IRA conversion, you can still recharacterize. Contact your Roth sponsor ASAP.
15 – Deadline to file your tax return if you requested an extension in April.
21 – Get Smart About Credit Day. Buy your FICO scores at www.myfico.com.
22 – Investors: Look for good buys on depressed stocks; October has marked the end of 11 post-World War II bear markets.
1 – Treasury announces semiannual I-bond rates. Buy candy on the cheap after Halloween.
2 – Federal Open Market Committee meets to review interest rates.
7 – Daylight Savings Time ends.
8 – New college grads: First student-loan payments are due this month.
15 – Open enrollment begins for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans, and continues through December 31. (See “Choose the Right Medicare Plan for Your Needs”.)
17 – Investors: Time to sell? The Dow has been up 13 of the past 16 years in the week before Thanksgiving.
24 – Log on to www.gottadeal.com to plan your Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping strategy.
29 – Cyber Monday: Save on sales at most online retailers.
1 – Investors: Before you buy a mutual fund in a taxable account, check the fund’s Web site for its ex-dividend date and purchase shares after that date to avoid a tax bill.
5 – Make year-end donations to a charity or your alma mater and lock in a tax deduction (see “Five Ways to Check a Charity”).
13 – End of 2010 is your last chance to make energy-efficient home improvements and get a 30% tax credit up to $1,500 (deadline: December 31).
14 – Federal Open Market Committee meets to review interest rates.
18 – Best time of the year to buy a computer-deals range from 15% to 50% off, or you could score a free printer or software package.
31 – Deadline for taking annual required minimum distributions from your retirement accounts, setting up a solo 401(k) plan and enrolling in a Medicare prescription-drug plan.
Reprinted with permission. All Contents c 2009 The Kiplinger Washington Editors. www.kiplinger.com