It’s a leap year! That means we have twenty-nine days to enjoy in February instead of the usual twenty-eight. But the question is, what should we do with the extra day?
Most people will probably treat the 29th like any other day. But as financial advisors, we have a suggestion. Why not use the extra day to do something that gets you closer to your financial goals?
Need some ideas? We’re happy to provide. Here are twenty-nine things you can do on February 29th. Of course, a few may not apply to you. Some you may have already done. But most are very simple, and all can make a difference in your financial health. Our advice? Pick just one or two of these and get them done. You’ll be glad you did!
So, without further ado, here are:
Twenty-Nine Things to Do on February 29th
- Contribute to your IRA for 2019 if you haven’t already. The maximum amount is $6,000, or $7,000 if you are over the age of 50.1
- Review your 401(k). Are you contributing the full amount available – or at least enough to take advantage of any employer matching? For 2020, the maximum contribution amount is $19,500.2
- Review the investments in your 401(k) account. Read the prospectus for each fund if you haven’t already. Ask yourself: Do you understand these investments? Do you know why you’ve chosen them? Are you certain they are right for you?
- Ask an outside professional for a second opinion on your 401(k).
- Ask a CPA to review whether you can make your 401(k) more tax efficient.
- Review your monthly expenses. Is there anything you can eliminate? For example, do you really need Hulu and Netflix when you only use one?
- Review your New Year’s resolutions. Are you doing what you need to do to achieve them?
- Review your long-term goals. Do you feel like you are on track to reaching them, or do they seem further away than ever?
- Review your various insurance policies. Have any expired? Are there gaps in your coverage?
- Review your Will to make sure it’s up to date, especially in terms of who your beneficiaries are.
- Name contingent beneficiaries on your Will if you haven’t done so already.
- Review your Power of Attorney to make sure it is up to date.
- Review your Advanced Medical Directives to make sure they are up to date.
- Conduct a household inventory. Make a list of your possessions and document them with photos. This can be invaluable if you ever need to file an insurance claim. Keep one copy at home, and another in a separate, secure location, like a bank safety deposit box.
- Make sure you know where each of the documents mentioned above are located. Then, have a conversation with your family so that they know where to find them, too.
- Consider purchasing a high quality, fireproof safe to store your important documents in.
- Start a rainy-day fund for unexpected expenses or emergencies. Ideally, your fund should have enough to cover three to six months’ worth of living expenses.
- Consider signing up for an automatic savings plan, where a fixed amount of your income is automatically deposited into your account every month.
- Consider signing up for any automatic bill-pay and direct deposit services available to you. They can make managing your cashflow much simpler and easier.
- Balance your checkbook if you still write checks by hand!
- Create a Disaster Preparedness Kit for your home.* While it may not seem like this has anything to do with finance, it does. Should a natural disaster ever happen, the safer and more prepared you are, the less financially impacted you will be.
- Create a plan for what to do in the event of a disaster and share it with your family.
- Choose an out-of-town emergency contact.
- Share your emergency contact information with any financial professionals you work with, so they can always get in touch with you during a crisis.
- If you haven’t already, get started on your taxes!
- If you haven’t already, learn your Full Retirement Age.** This is the age at which you can claim Social Security benefits without any reduction.
- Make a list of your top retirement concerns and questions. Speak with a professional to get the answers and solutions you need.
- Create or update your bucket list! What do you dream of doing in life? Where do you dream of going? Write it all down, and then post it where you can see it every day. Why? Because a dream in your head is just a fantasy. But a dream on paper is the beginning of a plan.
- As soon as you’re done with whatever you decided to do, go treat yourself. It’s Saturday night!
*For more information on building a Disaster Preparedness Kit, visit www.ready.gov/kit
**To learn your Full Retirement Age, visit: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html
1 “Traditional and Roth IRAs,” Internal Revenue Service, https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/traditional-and-roth-iras
2 “401(k) contribution limit increases,” Internal Revenue Service, https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/401k-contribution-limit-increases-to-19500-for-2020-catch-up-limit-rises-to-6500