Benefit From Your Birthdays

Not all birthdays are about a driver's license, getting to vote, or toasting with a glass of wine. Some are important to your comfort in retirement, too. No matter who you are, the years leading up to and during retirement contain a number of key financial planning opportunities worth capitalizing on. You and your spouse may hit these dates at different times, so be sure to coordinate before making any decisions. Check out these important birthdays:

50th Birthday

This birthday brings catch-up provision eligibility in your IRA and certain employer-sponsored plans. Annual traditional or Roth IRA contribution limits increase from $5,500 to $6,500 for 2018. 401(k) and 403(b) salary deferral limits increase from $18,500 to $24,500. Plus, SIMPLE IRA participants can defer an additional $3,000 of salary.

55th Birthday

Penalty-free, separation-from-service withdrawals from 401(k)s are now available to you. Health Savings Account (HSA) participants are also allowed a "catch-up" contribution. For single individuals, annual contribution limits increase from $3,450 to $4,450. For families, the limit increases from $6,900 to $7,900.

59th Birthday (ish)

At age 59 and a half, withdrawals from most retirement accounts without an additional 10% tax penalty are now possible. Additionally, those who are still working and looking to diversify by rolling funds from their qualified plan to an IRA may now be able to do so.

60th Birthday

Those who have lost a spouse are eligible to collect Social Security survivor's benefits, assuming the deceased was eligible and the survivor did not remarry.

62nd Birthday

Social Security eligibility begins, but with reduced benefits. Confer with your advisor to best maximize the household benefits.

65th Birthday

Medicare eligibility begins. Those not collecting Social Security should enroll in Part A, three months prior to their 65th birthday to avoid a gap in health insurance coverage. Unless you're covered by an employer-sponsored health plan, enroll in Medicare Part B to avoid future penalties.

66-67th Birthday

Full retirement age for Social Security (depending on birth year) provides eligibility for full retirement benefits. Social Security recommends applying for benefits three months prior to the month you would like them to start.

70th Birthday

Maximum Social Security benefits are provided at this age. Don't wait any longer to receive them.

70th Birthday (ish)

The year you turn 70 and half is referred to as your "first distribution year," and required minimum distributions (RMDs) from qualified accounts must begin. The IRS allows the first RMD to be postponed until April 1, of the year following the "first distribution year;" however, subsequent RMDs are due by the year-end of each year.

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