Holiday decorations have gotten crazy. From life-size, animatronic reindeer drinking from a waterfall of cascading Christmas lights to giant inflatable snow globes housing Santa
and all his pals, you could spend thousands of dollars decorating your yard alone. However, you have kids who will eventually need a college education. Fortunately, contributing to their GradSave account around the holidays doesn’t necessitate leaving your house tinsel-free. You can still get into the spirit of the season without spending a ton of money with these inexpensive DIY decor tips. …
April 14, 2014 | TheGradSaveTeam
7 Simple Ways to Encourage
Kindness in Children
Being kind is something that can be taught to children. The most important way to teach kindness is to demonstrate it yourself. Encourage your child to say hello to friends and point out when they are being kind. At the end of each week, discuss the kindness that they showed and that was shown to them. It will pay off.
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April 7, 2014 | TheGradSaveTeam
Although college savings plans can be completely hands-off (simply sign up for automatic contributions and forget about it), many parents are choosing to take a more active role in educational savings, doing their research before choosing a plan, then monitoring it carefully for performance over the course of the year.
Sure, it requires a bit more work, but the results are often worth it!
A 529 plan plays the market, much like a worker’s 401k plan or an individual investor’s brokerage account. Gains are awesome; losses aren’t. And traditionally, plans for younger children take more risks, then cycle to a more “conservative” approach the closer the child gets to college age.
However, when you take an active role in the investment options available to you, you have more control over the plan’s performance.
You do have some amount of control over how aggressive or conservative the plans are at the outset. Most plans offer different options that range in overall risk. That means it’s all about risk tolerance for the parents: Namely, how much can you afford to lose in an attempt to grow your money for your child’s future?
The ideal plan is one with low costs and traditionally high performance – for many parents, this means going outside their own state’s plan and looking for one with the best chance to appreciate substantially over time. Still, while you’re not tethered to your home state’s plan, it is wise to see what sort of tax breaks (if any) that plan offers first. A big enough break might actually make up for differences in performance. So feel free to bargain-shop!
The game is to find the plan that offers you the most while charging you the least. NerdWallet Investing sums it
up aptly, suggesting that the ideal plan will include numerous investment options, low account minimums and a maintenance fee of 0.5% or less.
How do you know if you’re on the right track? Savingforcollege.com recommends comparing your current plan with the broad market indices. Does it perpetually underperform in good markets or bad? You might need to make some tweaks. Is your plan beating the market more often than not? You’re probably on the right path, then.
In the world of 529 college savings plans, nothing is set in stone. You’re taking financial risk with potentially amazing results. Don’t forget to boost your success by linking your chosen plan to a GradSave account, allowing grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends to contribute to your child’s goal.
March 18, 2014 | TheGradSaveTeam