Celebrate April: Taxes, Money Smart Week, Financial Literacy Month!

With the hint of spring in our gardens, I feel like we're moving out of the slow-moving pace of winter into the season of festivals, events and outdoor activities. On top of all these activities, April is National Financial Literacy Month, taxes are due, and Money Smart Week returns to our communities during the last week! As you can imagine, my calendar is filling up – maybe you'd like to add these events to your calendar too.

What would you like to learn about during Financial Literacy Month? Lately I've been learning more about retirement savings. Don't forget that you can still contribute to an IRA for 2016. To count for a 2016 tax return, contributions must be made by April 18, 2017.

In addition, low- and moderate-income taxpayers making eligible contributions to IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plans may also qualify for the saver's credit when they complete their 2016 tax returns. The Saver's Credit is available to people whose adjusted gross income falls below certain levels. For 2016, the income limit is $30,750 for singles and married filing separate, $46,125 for heads of household and $61,500 for married couples filing jointly. For more information about eligibility, go to https://goo.gl/U5izSN. If you qualify, you may receive a tax credit up to 50% of your retirement plan contribution. Like other tax credits, the Saver's Credit can increase a refund or reduce taxes owed.

If you need help filing your taxes, many communities, working cooperatively with the IRS, provide free help typically to seniors and lower-income people. Go to https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers to find the site closest to you.

While sorting out your financial papers, remember to shred or destroy any papers with sensitive information like your social security number. We need to protect our social security numbers to minimize the risk of identity theft. During Money Smart Week, we will have shred events across the state. Go to www.moneysmartweek.org to find a shred event near you.

You may have other Money Smart Week events nearby that you'd like to attend. Money Smart Week is an opportunity for communities to highlight free financial education. Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, local planning teams offer fun, information events – many of which are very creative. Here's a few:

  • Save for Dream
  • Investing 101
  • The Credit Workshop
  • Home Maintenance Workshop
  • Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate
  • ABCs of Medicare
  • Is Your File Cabinet Too Full?
  • Choosing a Financial Professional
  • Senior Money Management.
  • Know Your Employer Retirement Plan Options: Leave it, Move it, Roll it, Take it
  • 5 Secrets to Saving for Your Children's College Education
  • A Man is Not a Financial Plan
  • Money Smart Kid Reads

Celebrate Financial Literacy Month by attending one or more Money Smart Week events. It's a great way to learn something new about personal finances. #MSW17