If I had young children and wanted to set aside money for their education today, I would choose a 529 Plan over a Coverdell ESA or UTMA/UGMA account. I’d also be smarter about the way I funded the account, either arranging gifts directly to an account (for grandparents, aunts, and uncles who ask what my kids want for birthday and Christmas celebrations) or placing cash gifts my kids received into an account. Here are tips on how to channel gifts to college savings.
When I started saving for my children’s education, 529 Plans weren’t yet introduced. So I saved within a UTMA/UGMA and then a Coverdell Education Savings Account. Each type of account seemed to have advantages and drawbacks. I wanted to save more for college in a designated account. But I had heard (more than once) that parents can’t borrow money for their retirement in the way that children can borrow for their education.
Eventually I came to realize that just because my retirement is a financial priority doesn’t mean I couldn’t set aside some money for my kids’ education. Even if though I didn’t save for the entire college experience — tuition, fees, room, board, books, study abroad, etc. — what I tucked away was extremely useful.
When I heard about the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, I was excited and intrigued. I anticipated that this movie would offer an insider’s view of Wall Street, specifically about the investment business.
First, I was disappointed (and a bit freaked out) by the adult content of this movie. I should have known something was amiss when my teenage son questioned my selection of this movie, which I borrowed from the library. For now, though, I am going to focus on the story and its valuable lessons.
What’s tricky about investment fees is that some are more transparent than others. Some charges are embedded in the investment product (such as management expenses of mutual funds) while others are standalone expenses such as maintenance charges.
Here are typical fees to investigate when signing up with a brokerage firm and investing money: