Personal Finance Calendar for 2014

Key Points

  • Just as financial planning is not a one-time event, it's not a once-a-year event either. Spreading out tasks throughout the year can make them more manageable.
  • Following our month-by-month guide can help get your finances in tip-top shape.
  • There's action you can take each month—such as obtaining your credit report or reviewing your estate plan—to keep your finances on track throughout the year. 

Do you spend more time planning your annual vacation than you do thinking about your personal finances? And when you finally do get around to thinking about your finances, do you usually end up waiting until the last minute? If so, you're not alone. A lot of people put off financial planning or avoid it altogether.

At Schwab, we view personal financial planning as an ongoing, lifelong process, not a one-time event. When you’re proactive about your financial planning and break it into small, achievable tasks, it’s a lot less daunting—and it can pay huge dividends to you and your loved ones over time. The following personal finance calendar should help you get started.

January 

  • Resolve to make yourself financially fit in 2014:
    • Manage your debt. Start by paying off all of your high-cost, non-deductible credit cards, and then establish an emergency fund equal to 3-6 months of expenses, if you haven't already.
    • Create (or update) your cash flow statement (income minus expenses) and statement of personal net worth.
    • Give your portfolio a checkup—review the performance of your stocks, bonds and mutual funds as you rebalance back to your target asset allocation mix. If you're retired and drawing down income from your portfolio, combine your portfolio rebalancing with your cash flow planning for the next 12 months.
  • Double-check your employer retirement plan contribution percentage. If you're at least 50 years old (or will be by December 31), consider making an additional catch-up contribution. At the very least, try to contribute up to the point where you take advantage of any available employer match.
  • If you don't pay enough income tax through regular payroll withholding, file your fourth-quarter estimated income tax payment by January 15. (See the IRS Tax Calendar for other federal tax items due throughout the year).
  • Any annual tax forms 1099, 1098 and W-2 should be mailed to you no later than January 31 (February 15 for some 1099s). 


February

  • Check your insurance policies (property and casualty, liability, health, disability, life) to be sure you're not paying too much for the wrong kind of coverage.
  • Certain mutual funds could restate their distribution information after your initial Form 1099 is mailed to you at the end of January. Though not common, when such fixes are necessary a corrected 1099 is usually mailed sometime in the month of February. Schwab clients can access tax tools and resources on schwab.com.


March

  • If you turned 70½ last year and haven't taken your first-year required minimum distribution (RMD) you have until April 1 to do so.
  • Get a free annual copy of your credit report from one of the three major reporting agencies on a rotating basis.


April

  • File your income tax return by April 15. If you're requesting an automatic six-month extension, you still need to pay any taxes due by April 15. 
  • April 15 is also the last day to make a contribution to your IRA or Coverdell Education Savings Account for the prior year.
  • If applicable, first-quarter estimated income tax payments are due by April15.


May

  • Create (or update) an inventory of your home and personal property for insurance or estate planning. Use a video camera to make a record of your valuable possessions and then store the video in a secure, remote location.
  • Review your estate plan.


June

  • Perform a mid-year review of your finances to be sure you're on track:
    • Double check your actual year-to-date income and expenses against your cash flow projections.
    • Are you on track with your retirement contributions and other savings?
    • Run a projection of your income taxes to be sure you are not paying too much or too little income tax (either through withholding or quarterly payments).
  • Planning a June wedding? Don't forget to update your financial plan accordingly.
  • If applicable, second-quarter estimated income tax payments are due by June 15 (June 17 for 2014, because June 15 falls on a Sunday). 


July

  • Get a free annual copy of your credit report from one of the three major reporting agencies on a rotating basis.
  • Keep learning—add at least one good book on personal finance or investing to your summer reading list. Meanwhile, consider signing up for an online workshop.


August

  • Compare what you actually spent on vacation to the amount you projected in your annual cash flow plan. Start thinking about your holiday budget.
  • As the kids or grandkids get ready for school, think about establishing or contributing to a Coverdell Education Savings Account and/or 529 College Savings Plan on their behalf. 


September

  • If applicable, third-quarter estimated income tax payments are due by September 15.
  • If you want to establish a SIMPLE IRA this year for your small business, the account must be opened by October 1.
  • You have until October 15 to recharacterize a 2013 Roth IRA conversion. If you already filed your 2013 federal income tax return, you will need to file an amended return along with IRS Form 8606 (check the rules for your state if you already filed a state income tax return). 


October

  • File your income tax return by October 15 if you requested a six-month extension back in April.
  • Run a projection of your current-year income tax liability to get a head start on your year-end tax planning.
  • As open enrollment season rolls around at work, take the time to review your health insurance coverage and other employer benefits.


November

  • Get a free annual copy of your credit report from one of the three major reporting agencies on a rotating basis.
  • Don't charge more for holiday gifts than you can comfortably pay for in full when the January credit card statements come around.
  • Take time to give thanks for another year of financial success. Review your charitable giving program and consider making tax-deductible gifts to charity or to a donor advised fund account before the end of the year.


December

  • Check your portfolio again for loss-harvesting candidates, as you rebalance back to your strategic, long-term asset allocation.
  • If applicable, don't forget to take the annual required minimum distribution from your IRA by December 31.
  • If you want to establish an Individual 401(k) or other QRP (qualified retirement plan) this year for your small business, the account must be opened by December 31.
  • Request your annual Social Security benefit statement from ssa.gov. Compare your earnings record against your old tax returns for accuracy.


 

Next Steps

Talk to us about financial planning. Call 800-435-4000 or visit a branch near you.

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