Action Plan: key planning dates for October

Soon millions of workers will receive a packet of materials from their employers about their health care options for the year ahead. Too often workers just stick with their coverage from the prior year, without carefully evaluating whether it has been the best fit for their needs. If that’s been your standard operating procedure, be sure to pay close attention this year.

Here are some of the other key events and money-saving tips to help your financial planning in October:


10: Columbus Day ? Remind yourself of “wants” versus “needs.” Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you need to buy it. Be smart about your spending at holiday sales.

15: Open-enrollment period for Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription drug coverage begins.

17: Deadline to undo or “recharacterize” a Roth IRA conversion done during the 2010 tax year. Those who do so will avoid paying the tax bill for the conversion or, if they already paid, get their money refunded.

17: Deadline for filing taxes for taxpayers who requested an extension to file their 2010 tax returns.


Also keep in mind:

? Free financial planning days will be offered in 30 cities around the country in October. The events are being sponsored by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the Financial Planning Association, the Foundation for Financial Planning and The U.S. Conference of Mayors. For more details, .

?Open-enrollment season arrives in workplaces across the country. You’ll want to carefully scrutinize how your benefits package may have changed before enrolling for the coming year. Consider putting more in your flexible spending account if used all of your funds this year.

? Halloween falls on a Monday this year. Buy just the amount of candy you think you may need. Don’t use it as an excuse to have leftovers and blow your diet as well as your budget.

? You’re entitled to three free credit reports each year. If you haven’t reviewed your report in several months, request a copy at .

? If your business sends out holiday cards and you haven’t placed an order, you’ll want to act fast. If you write a personal note in each card, having the cards in hand early will allow you to pace yourself.