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Gaming the 529 Plan

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009, by

Just when you think you’ve thought of everything… The Feds set up 529 college savings plans for the express purpose of encouraging savings for college by making these accounts tax advantaged. Nothing wrong with that.  It’s the same principle that animates investing in IRA, 401k, and Health Savings Accounts.  Not to mention it’s poor cousin, […]

The Company Store

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009, by

Younger readers will not be familiar with the term. In years past, small factory or mining towns, dominated by one major employer, would often pay the employees in scrip redeemable only at the company owned store. Of course, they abused their monopoly pricing power, and held the hapless employees in thrall to their meager, overpriced […]

Smart Money

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, by

Question–would you buy or subscribe to a monthly magazine just to have access to one feature article? Answer–it depends. I tend to be inundated with investment and financial planning periodicals. Nearly two dozen last time I counted.  Once you’ve earned your Certified Financial Planner designation, you pop up on the investment/retirement complex radar, and receive […]

Dazed and Confused, Part II

Friday, June 12th, 2009, by

There may be a solution to the dizzying array of retirement accounts we now face. It will likely be forced on the political hierarchy by events that threaten to spiral out of control.  We know that “reforms” will be applied to the entitlement programs…not because Congress has finally found the courage to do so…but because […]

The President Endorses the 529 Plan

Friday, June 5th, 2009, by

Did you catch the recent announcement about President and Mrs. Obama funding a section 529 college savings plan for their two daughters? I was glad to see that they took advantage of this program…and am somewhat mystified that others who can afford to do so usually ignore this heavily tax advantaged tool. In fact, the […]

The Family Meeting

Thursday, January 8th, 2009, by

How is it that personal finance became a taboo subject among families? You might want to check out Jason Zweig’s December 27th column in the Wall Street Journal, “Financial Pressure Is a Family-Room Topic, Too”, for further background on this issue. We’ve been doing this for years in our family, and it’s a tradition to […]

Going Back to School on the Boss’s Dime

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009, by

Consider this as a bonus addendum to our previous extreme makeover post. There is a tangible benefit for continuing education offered by many employers. But you’d never know it from the scanty number of employees who tap into this honey pot. Typically, the maximum allowance is $5,250 per year, which just happens to be the […]

The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Investors

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008, by

(With appropriate apologies to Steven Covey for ripping off the title of his best selling book.) Here’s my Christmas gift to you… Looking back over a business career now spanning four decades, I thought it might help to summarize what I’ve learned from direct observation of personal and client behavior, so that you can model […]