Life moves quickly. It’s easy to get distracted. But that can be costly.
Miss an important financial date or deadline, and you could be on the hook for a penalty or lose out on a limited-time opportunity to save money.
So, we’ve rounded up the noteworthy money dates that are coming up in December. Take a look and make a note of any that apply to you.
Dec. 7 — Open enrollment ends for Medicare
The fall open enrollment period for Medicare — the federal health insurance program for seniors and people with certain disabilities — started Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7.
Medicare recipients who have yet to do their open enrollment homework should check out our latest Medicare coverage and round up the following resources ASAP:
- Medicare.gov — particularly the plan finder feature
- 2021 “Medicare & You” handbook
- Evidence of Coverage document
- Plan Annual Notice of Change document
Dec. 14 — Green Monday
If you manage to miss both Black Friday and Cyber Week — which is going on now — know that you will likely have another chance to snag a deal on the second Monday of December, aka Green Monday.
This retail holiday was started by eBay in 2007 because the second Monday of December was historically the company’s best day of the year for sales.
Last year, big names like Target were among the retailers that “celebrated” Green Monday with sales. To learn what to expect from this year’s Green Monday sales, check out “The 7 Best Things to Buy in December — and 3 to Avoid.”
Dec. 15 — Open enrollment ends for ACA insurance
The annual open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act health insurance policies started Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15.
If you buy coverage through one of the health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, this period is your opportunity to enroll or re-enroll in a plan for 2021.
If you need a 2021 plan but have yet to enroll or re-enroll in one, start by reviewing these resources from the federal government’s HealthCare.gov website:
- Open enrollment checklist
- “3 ways to get ready to apply for 2021 coverage” blog post
- “See plans & Prices” webpage
Dec. 26 — Day after Christmas
We’ve seen the day after Christmas become a retail holiday of its own in recent years, generating sales on more than just holiday decorations.
So, keep an eye out. And again, check out “The 7 Best Things to Buy in December — and 3 to Avoid” to find out what types of purchases to postpone until after Christmas.
Dec. 31 — 4 tax deadlines
April 15 might be the most notorious tax deadline, but Dec. 31 brings us more federal income tax deadlines than perhaps any other day of the year.
For example, Dec. 31 is the deadline to do the following for tax year 2020:
- Make contributions to most employer-sponsored retirement accounts.
- Spend money in flexible spending accounts (FSAs), generally.
- Make charitable contributions. Normally, this opportunity for a tax write-off applies only to taxpayers who itemize their deductions. But this year, it’s also available to an extent to those who take the standard deduction, as we report in “You’re Almost Out of Time for This Coronavirus Tax Break.”
- Make Roth IRA conversions. Ed Slott & Co. reports that Dec. 31 is the deadline to convert traditional IRA money or pre-tax 401(k) money to a Roth IRA. You can learn more about Roth conversions in “5 Ways Retirees Can Lower Their Income Taxes.”
In any other year, making required minimum distributions (RMDs) would also be on that list. Dec. 31 would have been the RMD deadline for folks who were 72 or older going into 2020, and folks who turned 70½ before 2020, but a recent federal law waived RMDs for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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