It’s Monday morning and you have just mustered the energy to crawl out of bed to start your work week. You shuffle to the kitchen and open the pantry to grab a box of cereal, then you reach into the refrigerator for the milk. You fill your bowl with the flakes and milk and take a bite…YUCCHH!
Now fully awake you glance at the milk container to see that it expired sometime last week. We’ve all been there, right? Even if you don’t drink milk, you’ve probably done something similar with moldy bread, old lunch meat, or some other product. But are you doing this with your retirement?
Each year, usually on April 15, we reach the expiration date for making prior year retirement contributions (mostly). Unlike some other perishable products, we can’t just run to the store once an IRA contribution reaches its “Sell By” date. Once the opportunity has passed, it is gone forever.
Fortunately, thanks to the calendar and a holiday, we have a couple of extra days this year to make prior year IRA contributions. The usual deadline of April 15 falls on a Sunday, which would normally push the deadline to Monday. However, April 16 is Emancipation Day in Washington DC. Since the IRS offices will be closed, we have until Tuesday April 17 to make those contributions this year. Don’t let yours expire unfunded!
It’s Never Too Early For Retirement Savings
Do you have a high school or college student that has a part-time job? Don’t forget that they are eligible to fund an IRA if they have earned income for the year that the contribution is made. The funding for their IRA can come from any source. They can invest what they haven’t spent on video games yet, or cash in some of those low paying US Savings Bonds that a generous relative gave them years ago (make sure you understand the tax implications), or you or someone else could gift them the money outright.
One approach that can serve to jump start a kid’s retirement savings but also encourage them to develop healthy savings and investment habits is to offer a matching contribution. Say, for example, you offer to match each dollar they invest with a dollar. For a 17-year-old, a dollar will double five times by age 68 if they are able to earn a 7.2% average return over time. $1 will grow to $32 over 50 years at a 10% . Match their dollar with a dollar and they could see $64 for every dollar they invest.
Even better, make the investment in a Roth IRA and it will all be tax free!
Social Security Month
Another annual event that may have slipped your attention is that April is National Social Security Month. During this month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) encourages you to establish a my Social Security account.
If you have been wondering why you no longer receive an annual Social Security statement, it’s because the SSA stopped sending them in 2011 to save money. Instead, you now must go to my Social Security to check your earnings history, confirm retirement credits, manage your monthly benefits, check the status of claims, request a replacement Social Security card, and get an instant benefit verification letter.
You can also get estimates of your future benefits, which can serve as a great reminder and motivation to contribute to your own retirement savings.
If you have questions about retirement accounts or whether you are on track to reach your goals, get in touch before it’s too late!