Common Myths About 529 Plans

For my grandson’s upcoming first birthday, I mentioned to my daughter-in-law that we might invest in a Pennsylvania 529 college savings plan as our gift. She was a bit concerned since my stepson and his family are Maryland residents, not Pennsylvanians, and would that mean that he’d have to go to a PA school? The reality is that the 529 funds can be used at any college across the country and even accredited schools abroad so her fear was unfounded. My grandson will have the ability to use the money for any college of his choosing and by opening the PA 529 plan, we get the benefit of up to a $14,000 state income tax deduction and the advantage of Vanguard investment options. Continue reading

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Posted in College Planning, H.R. Guru | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Take Action If You Cannot Pay Your Taxes

The tax filing season has come and gone for everyone that didn’t already file an extension. Even if you filed an extension, you still have the obligation to pay your taxes by the filing deadline of April 15. If you were unable to pay off your tax bill in full then IRS tax debt concerns may linger longer than necessary and at a significant cost. Continue reading

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Posted in Financial Wellness, The Money Doc | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

Over the last few weeks, I keep hearing that women are paid only 77% as much as men and that claim boggles my mind. My first thought when I hear that is “businesses should fire every man working for them and hire women at a discount.” Apparently, I’m not the only one that wonders about the implications of that oft-repeated statement.  A Wall Street Journal column wonders the same thing.  It’s an interesting read, and clarifies some of the numbers that don’t get nearly as much press. But most people I know, when asked (and I’ve asked a few people today), know the 77% statistic because it’s repeated in the news so often. That made me wonder: “what other things do we “KNOW” that aren’t really as simple as the “fact” that gets repeated very often? Continue reading

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Posted in Communicator, Financial Planning | Leave a comment

What Should You Do With Your Tax Refund?

If you’re like the average American, you’re getting a tax refund of about $3k this year. So what should you do with that nice windfall? Here are some things to consider before blowing it all on a random shopping spree. Continue reading

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Do You Have An Advance Directive?

As a husband and father of four children, it is important to me to make sure my family is taken care of in the event of an emergency.  I have done a few things such as create an emergency fund, draft a will, and purchase life insurance, but there are a number of things I still have left to do.  One of the more important items I still have left on my to-do list is an advance health care directive. Continue reading

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Posted in Estate Planning, Rebel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Fever? Go Wild in the Park

As the days get longer and the weather gets  warmer, get out and celebrate spring this weekend without even having to spring for your wallet.  The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation are hosting Go Wild for National Park Week April 19 – April 27 and offering free admission this weekend to any of the 133 parks that normally charge an entrance fee.  My favorite is Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, just an hour drive for me, where I can learn about the Civil War while enjoying the natural beauty of the Potomac River.  It would typically cost $10 per car to enter the park, but this coming weekend the fee is waived.  Continue reading

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Posted in H.R. Guru, Money Saving Ideas | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clean Up More Than Your House This Spring

As of this spring, it has been exactly two years since our family moved into our home after a cross-town move to be closer to our children’s school and their GiGi and PopPop. It’s amazing how fast time flies but it’s also disturbing how much junk we have accumulated in that short amount of time. (For the most part, when I say junk. I am referring to toys and gadgets for the kids and our dog.) Continue reading

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Posted in Financial Wellness, Money Doc | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seriously, Mickey Rooney???

Since the time I was a kid (and my kids would tell you that’s a LONG time ago…), I’ve seen movies with Mickey Rooney on the screen.  He was probably one of the most recognizable men in America for a long period of time.  He was a major Hollywood star.  And he was always working.  Continue reading

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Posted in Communicator, Financial Planning | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Reasons to Contribute to a Roth IRA in the Next 5 Days

April 15th is just a few days away and while most people think of it as tax day, it’s also the deadline to contribute up to $5,500 (or $6,500 if you’re over age 5o or over) to a Roth IRA for 2013. Why is this so significant? Well, here are 5 reasons it’s a good idea: Continue reading

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Posted in Financial Planning, The Maverick | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Junior’s Investment Income May Be Taxable

I have four children, two of which have custodial accounts. By definition, those custodial accounts belong to my children, and when they reach the age of majority—18 in most states—they technically can take that money and use it for whatever their hearts desire.  Until then, I’m the custodian of the account, and as the custodian, it is my responsibility to make sure the money is managed properly. Not only does that mean making sure the assets are invested wisely, but also making sure that any taxes associated with the account are reported accurately. Continue reading

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