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Asset Sheltering and Financial Aid

It’s that time of year – time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid used by more than 99% of public universities. Many parents take the “why bother” approach.  “We have too much money.  We’ll never get any aid.” The first thought is usually “why did I have kids” while the second, [...]

Summary of Tax Changes

This chart does a nice job showing the prior laws, the competing Senate/House proposals for change and how things were resolved during the reconciliation process to create the new laws to go into effect beginning in 2018. Missing from the chart is discussion of the changes to §529s.  Previously distributions in order to qualify for [...]

Tell Them What They Want To Hear

Should a financial relationship be about doing what’s right or feeling good?  The former, right?  Not so fast. A survey by index zealots DFA found the #1 thing valued in receiving financial guidance is a “sense of security / peace of mind.”  Not that that’s a bad thing of course but at 35% of respondents [...]

Interest Rates on Federal Student Loans Heading Higher

Interest rates on new federal student loans change each year based upon results of the May 10-year Treasury auction.  The 2017 auction closed last week.  Although the Department of Education has yet to officially announce the new rates expectations are: The rate on federal Stafford Loans for undergraduates will likely rise from 3.76% to 4.45%. [...]

Boosting FICO Scores by Eliminating Negative Information from Credit Reports

In response to regulatory pressure and settlement of lawsuits with 32 states the Big Three of credit reporting – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – have decided to omit certain negative items from the credit reports of consumers. Examples include: Tax-lien and civil-judgment data that don’t include a complete list of at least three data points [...]

Paying for College – How Assets Impact Financial Aid

"I won’t qualify for financial aid.”  It’s a familiar refrain.  But how do you know? The problem isn’t what you own – it’s that you feel like you own too much. The solution?  Understanding which assets help/hurt the financial aid decision. With parents filing for financial aid for the 2017-2018 school year this is a [...]

Parents Fund Kids’ Sports – At the Expense of Retirement

Participating in competitive sports can teach youth valuable lessons. It can also be costly. According to a recent TD Ameritrade survey parents whose children participate in competitive youth sports spend $100 - $500 per month per child. The costs often have a negative impact on parents’ retirement goals. Some of the interesting findings: 1/3 of [...]

What’s In a Google Search?

In an oft-paraphrased 1789 letter to Richard Price Thomas Jefferson wrote that a well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy. The next time we as a society collectively wonder about the political landscape and direction of our country we need look no further than ourselves and the things we deem important. Just what are the [...]

IRS Announces 2016 Inflation-Adjusted Limits

Last week the IRS told us what’s new in 2016. While some items remain unchanged there are interesting developments with 401(k) contribution limits, income tax brackets and deductions, IRA contributions, the estate tax credit, AGI phase outs and more. More than 50 tax-related items were addressed. A partial summary and some of the more interesting [...]