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5 Books to Help College Students Make the Most of Their College Experience

Posted on Sep 1, 2019 with No comments
This is the time of year when parents are getting ready to send their college kids to their new homes. Along with clothes, shoes and all the comforts of home, there’s one more thing you should be packing: A good book on college life.

College is the time when kids generally get their first taste of freedom: They may be buying their own food, paying for their own needs, and getting acquainted with other college students. But do they really know what to expect in their new life?

Figuring out how to get used to college life is essential for students who don’t want to wind up being alone or maybe getting very homesick. Getting a new college students on solid footing means that they’ll get four years of somewhat real life before they launch into the “real world” of adulthood.

We asked experts in social interaction and college life — including some who specialize in the Psychology — for their top recommendations of books that will appeal to college students and offer solid principles and strategies for becoming successful in their college life and academics. Here are a few of the best college life books to give to your college students.

The Best College Student Survival Guide Ever Written: The one book all students should own before starting or finishing their college experience by MJ Wilson

In this guide MJ Wilson explains to students and parents how to:

1) choose the right major and college/university
2) deal with bad professors and impossible exams
3) keep from changing your major (again and again!)
4) learn study skills/time management techniques
5) reduce test stress and improve your G.P.A.
6) handle being homesick, depressed and lonely
7) improve your resume and make a grand exit! 
8) graduate in the least amount of time possible

MJ Wilson holds a Master's degree in Education. He is a campus speaker on "the do's and don'ts of college" - especially for freshmen. Wilson, who is an Ohio native, now resides in Tampa, Florida. For more information about his books or speaking, visit

How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country's Top Students by Cal Newport

How can you graduate with honors, choose exciting activities, build a head-turning resume, gain access to the best post-college opportunities, and still have a life? Based on interviews with star students at universities nationwide, from Harvard to the University of Arizona, How to Win at College presents seventy-five simple rules that will rocket you to the top of your class. These often surprising strategies include:

• Don’t do all your reading
• Drop classes every term
• Become a club president
• Care about your grades, Ignore your GPA
• Never pull an all-nighter
• Take three days to write a paper
• Always be working on a “grand project”
• Do one thing better than anyone else you know

Proving you can be successful and still have time for fun, How to Win at College is the must-have guide for making the most of these four important years—and getting and edge on life after graduation.

“This deliberately provocative book is a good way for a smart student to see how out-of-the-box thinking can lead to success in college.”—Seattle Times

Whether it's their first year or fourth, college students (who think they already know everything) can always use powerful and proven tips on how to make the most of their experience. In 1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know, Harry H. Harrison Jr.'s latest dose of trademark wit and wisdom provides practical advice ranging from class enrollment, living on campus, study habits and more, that every student-and parent-will benefit buying their books before exams start!

The organization and presentation of the material is designed for a short attention span and that's a good thing. Some really obvious points listed in the book, but honestly, college freshman sometimes need to hear the obvious.

Most college students believe that straight A’s can be achieved only through cramming and painful all-nighters at the library. But Cal Newport knows that real straight-A students don’t study harder—they study smarter. 

A breakthrough approach to acing academic assignments, from quizzes and exams to essays and papers, How to Become a Straight-A Student reveals for the first time the proven study secrets of real straight-A students across the country and weaves them into a simple, practical system that anyone can master.

You will learn how to:

• Streamline and maximize your study time
• Conquer procrastination
• Absorb the material quickly and effectively
• Know which reading assignments are critical—and which are not
• Target the paper topics that wow, professors
• Provide A+ answers on exams
• Write stellar prose without the agony

A strategic blueprint for success that promises more free time, more fun, and top-tier results, How to Become a Straight-A Student is the only study guide written by students for students—with the insider knowledge and real-world methods to help you master the college system and rise to the top of the class

First Year Student to First Year Success: 21 Things You NEED to Know When Starting College 

by Tom Krieglstein 

This book is for incoming and first year college students who are ready to make the most of their college experience, beyond what you might hear at at orientation.This book is a combination of the super secret insider tips to college that either us authors learned themselves, or they kept hearing from their campus leadership programs. 

From classroom seating tips, to self-care techniques, to scoring the perfect campus job, this book is your insider’s guide to college success that most likely won’t be told to you at orientation.You’ll notice that the size, layout, and interactive sections of the book are all designed to make this book be your ultimate college field-guide that you can squeeze into a backpack or coat pocket. 

Read straight through, or thumb to a topic that’s most relevant to you. College can be one of the most exciting times in your life and with our field guide in hand, you’re already well on your way to going from first-year student to first year success!


Can Grandparents Help A Grandchild With College Costs

Posted on Aug 30, 2019 with No comments
As the expense of a college education continues to climb up, numerous grandparents are jumping in
to assist. It is expected to accelerate as baby boomers, a lot of whom went to college, end up being grandparents and start gifting what's forecasted to be trillions of dollars over the coming years.

Contributing to a grandchild's college education can bring great personal satisfaction and is a wise method for grandparents to address their estate planning without having to pay present and future taxes. Are there easy ways to accomplish this objective?

Outright money presents

A common way for grandparents to assist grandchildren with college costs is to make an outright present of cash or securities. This method has a couple of disadvantages. A gift of more than the yearly federal gift tax exemption amount-- $14,000 for private donations and $28,000 for contributions made by a couple-- might have present tax and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax repercussions (GST tax is an extra present tax troubled presents made to somebody that is at least one generation before you).

A problem with this is that a cash gift to a student will be thought-about as untaxed income by the federal government's help application, the FAFSA, and student income is assessed at a rate of 50 percent, which can affect financial aid eligibility.

One workaround is for the grandparents to provide the cash gift to the parents instead of the
grandchildren, since presents to parents, are not required to be reported as income on the FAFSA.
Another idea is to wait until your grandchild graduates college and then give a money present that can be utilized to pay off school loans. Another choice is to pay the college directly.

Pay tuition straight to the School

According to federal law, tuition payments made directly to a college aren't thought about as taxable
presents, no matter how big the amount. Grandparents don't have to stress about the
$ 14,000 annual federal gift tax exemption. Paying for tuition is good - room and board, books, fees, equipment, and other comparable expenditures don't certify.

Aside from the apparent tax advantage, paying tuition straight to the college guarantees that your cash goes to places you planned, plus it gets rid of the money from your estate. And you are still free to provide your grandchild a separate tax-free present each year as much as the $14,000 limit ($ 28,000 for joint gifts).

Colleges will frequently deduct a student's college tuition help by the amount of the grandparent's payment. So before sending out a check, ask the college how it will affect your grandchild's eligibility for college-based aid. If your contribution adversely affects your grandchild's student aid, especially the grant or scholarship part, consider paying off your grandchild's student loans after graduation to help him instead.

529 plans.

A 529 plan can be an excellent method for grandparents to add to a grandchild's college education, while at the same time paring down their own estate. Contributions to a 529 plan grow tax-deferred, and withdrawals used for the beneficiary's qualified education expenditures are entirely tax-free at the federal level (and usually at the state level too).

There are 2 types of 529 plans: college savings strategies and prepaid tuition plans. College savings strategies are specific investment-type accounts used by nearly all states and handled by professionals. These funds can be used at any college in the United States or abroad. Prepaid tuition strategies allow prepayment of tuition at today's prices for the colleges that participate in the plan.

Read More: Will the New Federal Tax Laws Effect College Education Loans?

Grandparents can open a 529 account and call a grandchild as the recipient (only one individual can be listed as an owner,) additionally they can add to a currently active 529 account. The grandparents can contribute money to a grandchild's 529 accounts, or they can add smaller regular deposits.

Thinking about a lump-sum gift, a significant benefit of 529 plans is that under unique guidelines special to 529 plans, people can make a single lump-sum contribution to a 529 plan of approximately $60,000 ($ 120,000 for joint gifts by couples) and avoid federal gift tax. To do so, a special election needs to be made to deal with the gift as if it were made in equivalent installations over five years, and no additional additions can be made to the beneficiary throughout the time frame. Example: Mr. and Mrs. Jones can make a lump-sum contribution of $140,000 to their grandchild's 529 plan in Year 1, choosing to treat the present as if it were made over 5 years.

The result is they are thought to have actually made yearly gifts of $30,000 ($ 15,000 each) in Years 1 through 5 ($ 120,000/ 5 years). Because the quantity gifted by each grandparent is within the annual gift tax exemption, the grandparents will not owe any present tax (presuming they do not make any other presents to this grandchild throughout the five-year duration). In Year 6, another lump-sum contribution can be made and then repeat the process. In Year 11, they can do so once again.

Considerably, this cash is considered eliminated from the grandparents' estate, even with a grandparent created 529 accounts the grandparent is still in control of the funds. There is a caveat, however. If a grandparent were to pass away during the five years, then a partial part of the gift would be "recaptured" into the estate for estate tax functions.

Example: In the previous case, if the grandparent were to die in Year two, his overall Year one and two contributions ($ 28,000) would be left out from his estate. But staying part attributed to him in Years 3, four, and 5 ($ 42,000) would be included in his estate. The contributions credited to the grandparents ($ 14,000 annually) would not be regained into the estate. If the grandparents want to open a 529 for their grandchild, there are a couple of things to bear in mind. If you want to withdraw the cash in the 529 Plan for something besides your grandchild's college expenses-- for example, for medical costs or emergency functions-- there is a double effect: the portion of the income of the withdrawal undergoes a 10 percent penalty and will be taxed at your standard earnings tax rate. Funds in a grandparent-owned 529 account might still be factored in when identifying Medicaid eligibility unless these funds are excused explicitly by state law. Relating to financial aid, grandparent-owned 529 accounts are not required to be noted as a property on the government's financial aid application, the FAFSA.

Nevertheless, withdrawals from a grandparent-owned 529 plan are reported as untaxed earnings to the recipient (grandchild), and these earnings are evaluated at 50 percent in the FAFSA. By comparison, parent-owned 529 accounts are reported as moms and dad possession on the FAFSA (and assessed at 5.6 percent), and money from parent-owned strategies aren't counted as student income. To prevent having the distribution from a grandparent-owned 529 account count as student earnings, one choice is for the grandparent to postpone taking a withdrawal from the 529 plan up until whenever after the 1st of the grandchild's junior year of college (since there will be no more FAFSAs to submit). Another idea is for the grandparent to change the owner of the 529 accounts to the parents.

Read More: What Is FASFA and Should You Fill Out an Application?

Colleges deal with 529 plans differently for purposes of dispersing their own financial assistance. Usually, parent-owned and grandparent-owned 529 accounts are treated similarly because colleges simply require a student to note all 529 plans for which he or she is the named recipient.

Keep in mind: Investors ought to think about the investment objectives, dangers, charges, and expenditures related to 529 plans before beginning. You will find information about specific 529 plans is available in each provider's official declaration, which ought to be read thoroughly before investing. Before beginning, consider whether your state offers a 529 plan that gives citizens with favorable state tax benefits. Just like other investments, there are usually fees and expenditures associated with involvement in a 529 cost savings strategy. There is likewise the risk that the investments might lose money or not perform well enough to cover college costs as expected.

A present of more than the annual federal present tax exclusion quantity-- $14,000 for specific gifts and $28,000 for presents made by a married couple-- might have current tax and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax repercussions (GST tax is an additional gift tax enforced on presents made to somebody who is more than one generation listed below you). If your contribution negatively impacts your grandchild's tuition, particularly the scholarship or grant portion, consider gifting the cash to your grandchild after graduation to assist him, or her in paying off student loans.

Remember, this strategy is quite complicated. You should definitely do this with your financial advisor at your side. 

College Savings Day 5/29 Shows How You Can Save For College

Posted on Jun 3, 2019 with No comments
May 29 is referred to as College Savings Day, a play on the date 5/29, as it pertains to the College Savings Account's formal name, the 529 savings plan.

Research has revealed that post-secondary education can bring about increased earnings and better job prospects, but the increasing expense of tuition has actually ended up being a problem for many households.

In truth, a new report finds that since 2009, most families have actually seen state school tuition fees jump 85%, the largest rise in the country. In other words, education is costly, and if you want your son or daughter to finish college debt-free (or as close to debt-free as possible), you could consider saving now.

The benefit of doing this with a 529 account is it was established exclusively for the objective of helping families prepare for the overall expense of college.

Here are a few more reasons that a 529 account is worth looking at:

College is expensive. The earlier you begin saving, the more time to allow your savings to work for you. Even saving small quantities will ultimately gain greater returns down the road.

Cover more than just university tuition. 529 savings accounts can be utilized to pay for all types of the costs related to school, including books, tools, laptops and other essential materials.

Put to use towards technical education. In addition to tuition and fees at public or private colleges, 529 savings can also be used toward trade schools, featuring culinary schools, technical colleges and other courses. These types of schools are ending up being progressively popular due to the required abilities they can teach in addition to the increasing cost of common universities.

Tax benefits. The state of Arizona provides an annual Arizona state income tax deduction for 529 plan contributions of as much as $2,000 for personal tax filers, and up to $4,000 for married couples filing jointly. (Please consult your tax consultant regarding potential tax benefits. All details provided here is meant as a practical source of information. The info is general in nature, is not complete, and may not apply to your specific circumstance.).

Lower student debt. A 529 savings account can help relieve the problem of student loans and lower the amount borrowed.

Flexibility. There are generally two various types of 529 savings accounts: the money market savings and the 1 year time savings accounts. The money market option is a liquid account that permits deposits and withdrawals any time. The one-year time cost savings option is a time account that offers low-risk financial commitment opportunities and greater interest rates by securing your deposits for a specified period of time.

529 Plans are the tools you need to save for college expenses. Open one today!


How To Save Money While You Are In College

Posted on May 26, 2019 with No comments
In your initially year of college, you could be managing numerous things. From going to classes and keeping up with coursework to managing a part-time gig to making new friends, there's a lot to handle, and keeping tabs on your expenses might not be high up on the list.

The financial habits you develop in your initial year of college can help you long after graduation day arrives. Starting the savings habit at an early stage is certainly critical if you wish to start your career with a strong emergency fund available, or eventually buy a house.

Saving money in college is everything about having a plan of action and making the right choices. If you wish to begin establishing your money cushion, keep in mind to follow these guidelines for saving money as a college freshman.

Create a Budget

Making a budget for the first time will not be as challenging as it may seem. A spending plan is simply a plan for spending. To make a budget, add up everything you anticipate spending for the month, then match up that to the money you have coming in.

That includes any money you earn from working or financial support your parents may furnish. The objective is to make sure that you're not spending more than you have coming in. If you are, you'll want to cut back on some of your expenses so you can find money to save.

Choose the Best Bank

The first year of college is a great time to open a bank account and a savings account if you have not already. Your checking account is for paying expenses or making purchases; your savings account is for holding the money that you don't plan to spend at this time.

When choosing a bank, concentrate on 2 things: the fees they require and the interest you can make on savings. Student accounts tend to carry fewer fees, but at the same time, it pays to make certain you're getting the best rate possible on your savings so your hard earned money grows quicker.

Make Use Of Student Discounts

Your student ID can be the secret to discounts on things like sporting events, food, and entertainment. Businesses in college towns offer discounts to students as a motivation to bring in the college crowd.

The next time you head to a restaurant, movie theater, or another neighborhood business, make sure to present your student ID and inquire about a discount. Take the cash you would have spent without the discount and tuck away it away in your savings account.

Cut Costs on Textbooks

Books can easily consume a big chunk of your spending budget in your first year of college and beyond, but it's possible to get the books you require for less. Sites like and offer used textbooks for sale at a reduced rate, and, if you 'd prefer not to purchase, you could also think about renting your books. Another way to save on books as a freshman? Connect forces with another student who's taking the identical class and share books, cutting the cost in half.

Be Wise About Student Loans

Student loans can help pay for college expenses if you do not have a 529 plan or scholarships to fall back on, but they can equally lead you deep into debt. If you're getting federal loans, the number one rules is to just borrow what you need. This saves you money on interest down the road, since you're paying down a small balance.

The same rule applies to personal loans, yet the other consideration to keep in mind is getting a cosigner for those loans. Personal student loan rates are based on your credit score, so if you haven't developed a strong credit rating yet, asking a parent to cosign could help you lock in a lower rate and more savings.

Go Simple on Food Expenses

Your school meal plan can add several thousand dollars to your total expense of attendance each year. One method to avoid that expense and save money is by preparing basic meals, either in your dorm if you're living on campus, or your apartment if you're living off campus.

Steer clear of pricey convenience foods whenever possible and prepare your meals and snack foods each week before you go shopping. To keep expenses down at the supermarket and save your budget, think about shopping at a low-cost chain like Aldi's, buying store labels versus name brands, clipping discount coupons, and using a coupon app for the things you buy.

Make The Most Of School Freebies

Among the very best aspects of college is that there's always something to do on campus when you're not attending classes. That could include movie screenings, theater productions, club get-togethers, or art shows and, on a regular basis, these events are totally free for students.

If you're attempting to keep entertainment from devouring a hole in your spending plan so you can save money, check out as many of these freebees as possible. As an added bonus, they're a fantastic way to get to know new individuals if you're feeling like a complete stranger in your first year of college.

Automate Your Savings

If you have actually started a savings account, you need to make an effort to ensure that the cash you want to save makes its way into it. The simplest way to do that as a busy college freshman is by automating your savings deposits. Go over your budget and decide just how much you can dedicate to saving every month.

Then, set up an automated transfer in that amount monthly, or break it down weekly or once every two weeks, depending upon how frequently you're adding money to your checking out. Even tiny amounts can amount to a sizable savings cushion by senior year.

Saving money in your first year of college can help protect long-term financial success. As you start saving, don't forget to set clear objectives to help you stay motivated in the process.


529 Plans Are The Best Way To Save For College Expenses And Avoid Student Debt

Posted on May 4, 2019 with No comments
Opening a 529 is hands-down the most effective way for mother and fathers, grandparents, aunties, uncles, and godparents to reduce a youngster's dependence on student loans, and the tension and anxiety that comes with paying them off.

Because of compound interest and also tax temptations, parents that put away just $10 a week in a 529, beginning on their youngster's first birthday, could have about $20,000 in the till by the time" Joe College" heads off to school. That's real money. That, in fact, makes a a major difference in a persons life.

529 Plans Are The Solution

Today, the "college costs" figures are starting to change. Since 529's were established in the mid-90s, states have aimed to make sure the strategies work well at all schools. More than 25 years later, we have finally been made known to the public the benefits and necessity of a 529 Plan. Now, mothers and fathers realize that 529 strategies are the way to go to make a large distinction in the family's educational plans.

Up until this time, a great deal of the across the country chatter on student loans has concentrated on what a person should do when they are already drenched in debt. Our message has a special take. We desire individuals to know there is a way to avoid financial debt from the beginning, in addition to this is a technique offered to every person today.

The 529 Plan remedy is not dependent upon the outcome of a political election or a candidates position on the issue. It's not hypothetical. Mother and fathers can take issues in to their own hands today to stop their youngsters from having frustrating financial debt tomorrow.

Will 529s remedy the student debt catastrophe? Heck no. They're not money magic sticks. But they are a clever beginning. As well as they're something everyone must find out about. They're something everybody needs to have.

The 529 Plan remedy

Student loan debt has reached $1.5 trillion across the country. Greater than 44 million Americans have this financial obligation gnawing at earnings, limiting opportunities as well as likewise leading them to postpone acquiring houses and also having kids. Americans of all political stripes, red or blue, must be able to see the ramifications of this dilemma. It has to end and 529 Plans are the solution.


The Best Way To Save For College Is A 529 Plan

Posted on Apr 10, 2019 with 1 comment
Are you going to start a family. In the process of getting the babies nursery ready, lining up maternity leave, figuring out childcare plans, as well as making decisions relating to the birth itself, there's something else you need to be thinking of. Just how do you intend on saving for college?

According to George Ihnot, President of Family Financial Advisers, the correct time for folks to plan for college cost savings is "immediately or as early as practical-- even right after your kid is born."

"Investing for college is the hardest type of investing, given that you have a short time span and a certain draw period," Ihnot says. "It's not like retiring, where you can adjust it. If you're not prepared for retired life, you can wait. You do not have that luxury with college."

Now that you know you're require to start right away, how much do you need to set aside?

"The rising price of university in times past has actually been well in excess of normal inflation, typically 6-7%," Ihnot says.

He suggests that you take the present cost of an exclusive 4-year college and multiply it by 5. That's the amount of cash you'll wish to have on hand. Since you understand just how much you need, the question is, what's the best type of account in which to save it?

A 529 Plan Can Help You Save For College

Depending on the state in which you reside, a 529 College Savings Plan is likely going to be your best option for tax-incentive college savings. Ihnot says that you can think of these accounts like Roth IRAs. As your kid nears matriculation, you can start to move assets from more volatile assets, like equities (stocks), to more stable assets, like bonds.

Some states grant tax breaks on contributions to 529 plans and others do not. A couple of states will even allow you take a tax deduction even if you contribute to another state's 529 plan. If you happen to live in a state without income tax or someplace that does not have a 529 plan, you still have alternatives.

"It does not matter what state you reside in, you can put money in every state's 529 plan," Ihnot claims. "And it does not matter what state you save into. You can send your kid to college and university in any state. The general guideline is that if your state charges income tax and there is an advantage for a contributing to a 529 plan, then you're better off contributing to your state's 529 plan."

"the correct time for folks to plan for college cost savings is "immediately or as early as practical-- even right after your kid is born.", George Ihnot, President of Family Financial Advisers

529 plans provide parents who are saving for college and university the benefits of tax-deferred growth and tax-free spending for Qualified Higher Education Expenses (QHEE). Some K-12 tuition is also considered QHEE. A word of caution: Colleges and universities must be accredited so as for tuition to be considered QHEE.

Even More Reasons to Use a 529 Plan

The majority of 529 plans come with a balance limit that varies from one state to another. Normally, it's around $250,000, Ihnot claims.

529 plans also provide you extra property protection in situations such as bankruptcy or a lawsuits.

"In many cases, there's a greater degree of asset protection than an individual or a joint account," Ihnot claims. "There's a public interest in your children being educated."

There's also a great deal of misinformation encompassing the amount that parents can contribute the 529 plans. Many believe that the contributions comprise gifts in the eyes of the IRS and are as a result capped at $12,000. This, however is not the case. Ihnot explains that each parent can contribute as much as $15,000 per kid annually, and more with some additional paperwork.


Funding Options for Parents Starting Late When Saving For College

Posted on Apr 7, 2019 with No comments
The school year is going well across the nation, which suggests millions of families in the past year are focusing on how they will pay for school next year. As costs continue to escalate, however, many are stressed they'll never manage to save enough.

In 2017, the typical price of tuition, room and board at a four-year public school was greater than $36,000, a greater than $1,000 rise from 2016-2017. For private colleges, the charge is a lot more pricey, with the price tag close to $47,000. Add that up over the course of four years-- or more-- and it's no wonder that parents are on edge.

Without question, the soundest advice when it comes to investing savings for higher education is to begin early, however there are numerous Americans that, for what ever reason, have not had the ability to do that. If that's you, not all hope is lost because there are strategies to catch up or compensate.

Consider the following:

529 plans. One of the most popular college-funding vehicle is the 529 plan, which are typically structured like a retirement savings program, except the money can be used much sooner and is exclusively meant to pay for qualified education expenses. Pre-paid plans allow you to secure tuition credits at current rates at participating colleges.

Earnings grow tax-free and withdrawals are not subject to federal income taxes, while most states allow you to deduct plan payments. Unlike 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts, additions to 529 plans are not tax deductible at the federal level.

While many people think it's too late to invest in a 529 plan when an individual is in high school, such strategies are an ideal instrument for households that are behind.

For one, it's not ever too late to begin saving. Two, there are no contribution limitations, allowing households entering their peak earning years just like their kids become teens-- which is very typical-- a way to make large lump-sum contributions that can generate returns. Three, you can continue to make the payments until the student graduates, indicating the benefits will last longer than most realize.

Choose the optimal fit. When young people begin to think about which school is the most suitable fit for them, they typically look at an assortment of factors, including where their buddies are going, which school is furthest from home or even which one has the greatest football team. However, from a planning viewpoint, figuring out "fit" indicates something else, frequently requiring a thoughtful conversation between parents and children.


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