Saturday Savings: Tips for College

When it comes to saving for college, it can really do a number on the finances for families.  However, when it comes down to it, it can still be a great investment.  Jobs of the future are almost a certainty to require a college degree at a minimum.  If parents or grandparents have the means to be able to afford to save in advance for college, the below should help. 

From Jonathan Pond’s Ponderings:  

  • Don’t try to save all of it. Don't even think about trying to save every last cent that it's going to cost to educate your abecedarian. It will almost certainly require putting aside more money than you can afford. If you set your college savings goal too high, you may become discouraged and not save at all. Instead, plan on setting aside an amount that you can reasonably afford - perhaps enough to cover one-third of the cost.
  • Keep saving for retirement.  Don't begin saving for college unless you can at the same time keep up with your retirement plan contributions, including an IRA. In other words, don’t reduce your retirement savings in order to save for college. While it's great to get a head start on tuition costs, it's more important (and more financially advantageous) to put money away in retirement plans.
  • 529 plans are preferable.  Unless the child is very near college age, a 529 college savings plan is probably the best alternative. It is certainly the most tax advantageous. Choose carefully. There are some wonderful 529 plans, but there are also some stinkers that assess high fees and provide lackluster investment choices. Every state offers at least one plan, and your own state’s plan may – or may not – be a good choice. If you’re comfortable making your own decision, select a 529 plan on your own. Some online sites can help identify the top choices. This will probably save you money compared with asking a financial advisor for help.
  •  Opt for age-based investing. Unless you’d really prefer to select your own investments in the plan and otherwise move money around, choose instead the “age-based” 529 plan investment alternative(s). The age-based option will automatically but gradually change the investment mix as the pupil nears college age. The younger the child, the higher the percentage of money in the plan that will be invested in stocks. As the child nears college age, the percentage allocated to stocks will gradually be reduced, which makes a lot of sense because the last thing you want is to lose a lot of money from a stock market tumble just before tuition bills arrive. The age-based approach takes the worry out of having to ride herd on the investments, one less matter on your financial worry list.

New Apple Watch Series 4 ECG App Already Making Impact

Yesterday, Apple released Watch OS 5.1.2, and with that, came the much anticipated ECG app. Granted many received normal sinus rhythms. However, one Reddit user was surprised to receive an A-fib result.

Apple Unveils Online Store With 10% Discount for U.S. Veterans and Active Military

It’s hard enough to come by discounts on Apple products as it is, so 10% off is a pretty good deal.  It may be worth sharing this with any friends or family members who might qualify.

How To Turn Your Lease Equity Into Cash

Ah the lure of small monthly payments when it comes to car leasing.  Almost all of the time though, leasing benefits the dealer/car makers more than the car buyer though.  Edmunds has three great ways to turn your car equity into cash if you’re able.

Apple Music to Debut on Amazon Echo Devices Soon

Anymore, one has an equal amount of music streaming services to choose from as there are smart home speakers.  Two of the most popular have been Apple Music for streaming, and Amazon’s Echo devices for a smart home speaker.  Before you only had one option if you wanted to utilize Apple Music.  The HomePod.  Now the service and smart speaker are about to be united.

The Envelope Budgeting System Can Be Great...Until It Gets Shredded

Many may be familiar with the envelope budgeting system, where you figure out your discretionary income, decide on your budget categories, and then put actual cash into each envelope for those categories.  Then, once the cash is gone, that’s it for that category, unless you move it to another envelope.  It’s a great way to stay accountable.  However, you may wish to make sure your envelopes are in a safe place, out of the reach of little ones.  One couple found this out the hard way.