What happens every four years that affects all of us—and isn't an election? It's leap year, and this year is a leap year! That means that in 2020, February has 29 days (February 29 is called a leap day), rather than its usual 28 days, and that this year will have a total of 366 days. Why do we get leap years? According to dictionary.com, “Even though the standard calendar year is 365 days, Earth actually takes 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds to go completely around the sun. (This is called a solar year.) In order to keep the calendar cycle synchronized with the seasons, one extra day is (usually) added every four years as February 29.”
Anyone born on leap day has an unusual birthday schedule. Statistically, you have a one in 1,461 of being born on a leap year, and, if you want to be precise, you only have a birthday on February 29 once every four years—so going strictly by the calendar, you may be a lot younger than you look. Besides leap year babies having fewer birthday parties, are there other effects of a leap year? What happens because we have one more day in the calendar; specifically, how might it affect our finances, if at all?
Well, you actually might just be working for a tiny bit less money in 2020, because if you have a fixed salary then it is now spread over one additional day. But, if you get paid by the hour, this month could provide some extra compensation, since you might be getting more money if you have an additional eight hours (or more) from a bonus working day.
There are other financial benefits to the 2020 leap year, and although they are probably not too significant individually, altogether they could add up to a nice little benefit to your finances. If you regularly pay a set rate (monthly, annually, etc.) for something—such as rent, the fee for a parking space, a bus/train transit pass, a fitness club membership, a subscription to a news site or online streaming video or music service, car and home insurance, or other types of annual memberships or charges—then you're getting an extra day for the same amount of money. On the other hand, you also have one more day to use up gasoline, natural gas, water, and electricity, so you could be paying just a little bit more for that extra day of consumption.
How might leap year affect the U.S. government financially? Well, one big advantage it brings is that this year our government might have a lot more money. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing prints about $200 billion of new currency each year. Divided by a year with an extra day, that means that more than $500 million worth of new currency could be printed on leap day, which by almost any measure is an impressive stash of cash.
So what are you doing with your money in 2020? If you need any advice about savings, mortgages, loans or our other products and services, please come by a branch and chat with us about what you want to accomplish with your finances—and maybe get a jump start on managing your money this leap year.