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Family Finances

Your 2010 Money Calendar

Key dates to bookmark for the year ahead.

JANUARY

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.

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26 -- Federal Open Market Committee meets to review interest rates.

FEBRUARY
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.

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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.

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MARCH
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.

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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.

APRIL
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.

MAY
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.

JUNE
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.

JULY
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.

AUGUST
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.

SEPTEMBER
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.

OCTOBER
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.

NOVEMBER
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.

DECEMBER
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.