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How to Get the Most from a 529 Plan

Posted on Aug 31, 2013 with No comments

Aug 31, 2013

One of the best gifts my parents gave me was paying my way through college. It’s a heavy financial burden but luckily my parents started putting money into a 529 Plan even before I was born. They started when my oldest sister, who is ten years older than me, began junior high. Over the years, they were able to accrue enough money in their 529 plan to pay for all three of their daughters’ college finances.

The alarmingly high costs of tuition keeps rising, which should encouraging many parents to take advantage of 529 college savings plans. What many parents don't realize is that you do not have to choose your state's 529 plan; you can purchase a plan from any state.

Different Types of Plans

There are two main types of 529 plans: savings plans and prepaid tuition plans. States can offer both types, but educational institutions can only offer the prepaid tuition plan.

Prepaid plans are available to purchase tuition credits at today's rates to be able to use them in the future. Eleven states have this type of plan. Savings plans are investment plans. Assets are allocated into different investment options such as mutual funds and stocks.

Which Plan is Best?

The plan that's best for you will depend on several factors. If you have an older child, you'll want an age-based plan because as the child approaches the college age, the investments become more conservative.

If tax deductions are your biggest concern, you'll want to look into how to get the biggest deduction in your state. This may require that you purchase the state's plan though there are a handful of states that provide deductions for plans purchased in any state.

The following states have plans that have performed well consistently during the past few years: Michigan, New York, South Dakota and Utah. Utah seems to be a favorite among expert investors because of its low costs, diverse investments and age-based plan.

Managed or Passive Funds?

One of the primary factors that affect costs associated with 529 plans is whether you want a managed fund or a passive fund. With managed funds, managers pick and choose stocks for you based on how they think certain stocks will perform.

Passively managed funds have become common among direct-sold plans. Actively managed funds are common among advisor-sold plans. Actively managed funds have the highest expenses because they anticipate being able to outperform the indexes. According to CNN Money, passive fund 529 plans save on expenses and usually end up providing higher returns.

Tax Benefits

Indiana, Utah and Vermont offer state tax credits to residents who buy their plans. Twenty-seven other states allow 529 plan holders to deduct some or all of their contributions. Five states – Arizona, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Missouri and Maine offer tax breaks to their residents for investing in any college savings plan from any state.

How the Funds Can Be Used

Funds from a 529 plan can be used to pay for a student's tuition and fees, books, equipment and supplies when enrolled in one of the degree programs at an accredited institution in the United States. If the student attends school at least half time, the funds can also be used for room and board.

It's best to start saving for your child as early as possible, but if you have an older child, don't worry. Start saving now. Any money saved is less money that will be needed for student loans. Most parents and students think that no matter which course they take they will have to pay it one way or another. But if you think about it, you can either pay less by earning interest when putting aside the money ahead of time or pay more afterwards from the debt interest rates.

It’s your choice.

The Importance of Having a Job

Posted on Aug 26, 2013 with No comments

Aug 26, 2013

The saying "nothing in the world is free" can surely stand to be a true testament for ages. Just about everything required for the sustainability of one's health and well-being requires some type of expense. Whether it be shelter, food, education, transportation, movies, parties and just about everything has a cost to go along with it. In order to live in society, it is imperative to have a steady and reliable job. With no job and family support, one may end up homeless. Family support is usually in the forms of financial and emotional. Although emotional support is free, that support comes from the care and advise that is provided by family members. However, to live in the household, someone needs to pay the bills. Therefore, a job is necessary by at least one member of the household to keep the flow of life going.

The Road To Landing a Position In a Career-Based Job

As children grow up to their teen years, they may realize that they want to take on a part-time job to help fund their hobbies and weekend spending. This part-time job will usually consist of working hours outside of the child's school hours. Then, as they advance to college, they may be able to handle a full-time job while attending school as a full-time student. The schedule is really up to the student and what they can handle. However, they have to keep in mind that their grades in school should be always kept as their number one priority. This is because earning the top grades in school will enable them to give them opportunities towards a prosperous career. That's right, landing a position in a career-based profession should be that student's number one goal as they advance through their grades and stages of school.

Differences Between a Job and Career

One way to differentiate between a job and career is to analyze which one will be able to support the worker and their family the easiest, in the shortest amount of time while putting in the least amount of hours. Now, this isn't taking away from the fact that a job is able to fully support an individual and a family. However, a career will usually make supporting oneself and others much easier. A career should be set into the individual's goals as a long-term commitment. A job can be considered a short-term stepping stone for the individual. This stepping stone job can be a good addition to one's résumé which can instill certain skills, experience and knowledge that will carry over and assist them to perform at their maximum potential in their career.

One can say a career is a job, but a job may not be a career. Also, as previously mentioned, a student in college will usually strive to earn a top grade point average in their courses in order to get recognized by a firm in their career field. However, a career doesn't always require an education. Many career-based jobs will provide training on the job which will enable the individual to have a long-term position within the company with an array of benefits, salary and compensation plans.

Alisa Martin is a proficient author and writes articles on find jobs online. She regularly contributes for the website


Saving for College? Try 20 Tips

Posted on Aug 18, 2013 with No comments

Aug 18, 2013

If you’re lucky, your parents started a 529 Plan before you were born. But even if they waited a few years, you still need to help contribute to your college fund. Consider these 20 tips to save money, limit student loan debt and enter the work force on solid financial footing.


1. Rent textbooks from your university’s bookstore, local library or online source.
2. Share textbooks. All your classmates save money!


3. Take subsidized loans. They’re interest-free as long as you’re in school, which saves you tons of cash.
4. Consolidate. If you have unsubsidized loans or credit card debt, try to consolidate them under one low-interest loan.
5. Sell your hobby. Tutor exchange students, sing at weddings or build customized furniture.
6. Barter. Paint a neighbor’s porch for groceries, type research papers for rides and pet sit for hair cuts.
7. Save automatically. From every paycheck, set up automatic withdrawals into your college savings account.
8. Fill up wisely. Fuel costs keep rising, so save money when you find cheap fuel at Plan to fill up before you’re on empty and take the shortest routes possible.
9. Maintain your vehicle. Rotate the tires, change the oil and drive as little as possible to keep your car in like-new condition.
10. Sell your car. You will save hundreds of dollars a year when you carpool, ride the bus, walk or bike. College is a perfect time to save the money from a car since you can live on campus and catch rides with friends.
Food and Drink
11. Use your campus credit. Why eat out when you already paid for food at the campus dining hall or café?
12. Brew your own. Whether you’re into coffee, tea or beer, stop paying someone else to make those beverages for you, and save dozens of dollars every week for your college fund.
13. Host potlucks. Ask all your friends to bring a taco or pizza ingredient, and enjoy tasty dinner on the cheap.
14. Give up junk food. It’s expensive and unhealthy.
15. Buy secondhand. Besides finding awesome vintage clothes, you’ll save tons of money.
16. Learn to mend. Popped buttons, loose zippers and oversized clothes are easy to fix with a sewing kit and your nimble fingers.
17. Wash everything in cold water. It’s gentler on your clothes and helps them last longer.
18. Borrow a friend’s – or your mom’s – laundry room. Give her a few dollars each week instead of feeding the campus machines all your quarters.
19. Couch surf. Your spring break and long weekends just got cheaper.
20. Find free entertainment. In the newspaper, online and through friends, find free entertainment for date night and fun with friends.

With these 20 tips, you’re well on your way to saving during college and graduating debt-free. Which tip will you try first?

Bio: Alicia is a freelance writer and enjoys restoring her Ford Mustang when she’s not working.


Working Full Time While Attending School Part Time: How to Manage It

Posted on Aug 8, 2013 with No comments

Aug 8, 2013

Unless you come from a wealthy family or have parents who have saved all of your life for you to go to college, odds are you won't be able to attend college full time without taking out some student loans. You may be one of the lucky few that receive full scholarships, but that is not the norm for most students.

What are your alternatives if you don't want to take out student loans? Your only option, aside from your family paying for your education, is to work while you're in school. If you want to avoid loans altogether, a part time job isn't going to cut it.

You may need to work full time and only go to school part-time. Here's a plan for staying on top of your finances and your schedule while working full time and attending school part time.

Set Aside Money for Tuition and Books Each Payday

In addition to your bills, you'll now need to factor the cost of your education for your bachelors degree into your monthly budget. Always plan to put away a little extra for fees and if books cost more than you had anticipated. The tuition rates will remain the same for the academic year, so planning should be easy. Multiply the tuition rate for each hour of classes by the number of hours you plan to take to get the total amount of tuition.

Find out which books your professor will be using so you can add that cost as well. Once you have your total, divide that number by four. That's how much money you'll need to put away each month for your education. Obviously, you'll want to start saving four months prior to starting classes to avoid going in the hole during your first term.

Avoid Making Big Purchases

When you're working full time, it's easy to think that you can afford more than you actually can. You may look at the new cars your coworkers are driving and think that you deserve one too. While you may deserve one, you shouldn't set your eyes on those new wheels yet. Maintain your focus on your education and remind yourself that sacrifices now will pay off by not having student loans later.

Lock Up the Credit Cards

If you're trying to avoid student loan debt, you should certainly avoid credit card debt as well. In fact, credit card debt is even worse than student loan debt because the interest rates are much higher.

To avoid the temptation of using a credit card to pay for something that doesn't fit into your budget, lock up the cards somewhere safe that's not easily accessible. Some people even freeze their cards in a block of ice to reduce the temptation to use them.

Be Prepared for a Tight Schedule

It shouldn't come as a surprise that working full time and going to school part time will not be easy. You'll have to learn how to manage your time really well. You will have to forgo many social outings in favor of studying or working. Get plenty of sleep and stick to your schedule. Working while in school will be a challenge, but it can help you avoid drowning in debt after you graduate which, unfortunately, happens all too often these days.

How to Put Together a Successful E-Recruitment Campaign

Posted on Aug 5, 2013 with No comments

Aug 5, 2013

If you want to recruit staff, especially retail staff, using the internet is a good approach. Over 69% of the UK population have web access, and studies have shown that around 80% of UK job seekers use the internet when they are looking for work.

If you want to you can continue to rely only on traditional recruitment methods, but doing so means that you are missing out on reaching a significant percentage of those people who are looking for work.

Advertising job vacancies online has become easier, and todayit is possible for you to post a previously prepared job advert within just a few minutes. However, it is important to approach online recruitment in the right way. This is especially the case for large firms who are looking to either recruit on a regular basis or need to recruit a large group of people all at once. You have to realise that there are hundreds of retail companies offering employment. Therefore, jobseekers have plenty of choice.

Create your job advert properly

This means that you have to spend some time giving thought to how to write a compelling job advert. In order to attract the best candidates you have to make sure that you offer a reasonable salary. If you are unsure, of how much you should be paying for a specific role you can easily find out if you visit the website. All you need to do is to put yourself in the position of a job seeker, search for work similar yours and check how much your competitors are paying. Remember to enter your location; this is important because many firms pay different rates in different parts of the country. Therefore, if you do not include your location the salary figure you come away with may not be reflective of how much qualified job seekers, in your area, expect to be paid for the kind of work you are offering.

Be clear about the kind of person you are looking for

Take the time to list all of the duties and responsibilities. Be careful to do so in a clear and concise way.

If you require people to work unsociable hours such as split shifts or nights it is wise to say so in your job advert. These days, the vast majority of people are willing to work unsociable hours. However, because of family obligations some people simply cannot do so. If you leave this fact out of your job advert, you could find yourself attracting the wrong kind of candidate. It is much better to be honest and upfront, that way all of the candidates who apply for the job should be willing and able to work the hours that you need.

The title is important

How you word the title of your job advert is extremely important. You have to remember that people be will need to be able to find your job advert. To do so they will be using the search boxes provided on the job board. If you use the wrong phraseology, it is possible that your job advert will not show up in the results.


The Advantages of Working in Hospitality

Posted on with No comments
If you are looking for work and have never considered working in hospitality you may be wise to do so. Many people think that the hospitality industry offers only low paid, part-time jobs with very little opportunity for career advancement. Whilst there is plenty of this kind of work available, if you are prepared to work hard and gain experience on-the-job you can actually earn good money and have a very interesting career.


One of the best things about working in the hospitality sector is that there are plenty of different kinds of work to choose from. It is not all about waiting tables, cooking and cleaning. You can be a chef on a cruise ship or simply work in your local cafe.

Once you have the basic experience, where you work and therefore what type of work you take on is very much up to you. Where you work will significantly change the kind of jobs you will be doing. There is hospitality work available across the globe in hotels, pubs, clubs and bars, as well as on cruise ships, in factories and even in people’s homes!

Plenty of work

Not only is there a good variety of work to choose from, there is always plenty of work available. If you visit the website, which specialises in recruiting for the hospitality industry, you will see what we mean. They have literally thousands of vacancies of all kinds.

Naturally, the majority of this work is in large towns and cities. However, even in rural areas it is still possible to find hospitality jobs. There are hotels, conference centres, training centres and theme parks based in rural areas - many of which need hospitality staff.

Once you have gained sufficient experience you will rarely be without work. With a good quality CV, you can quickly move from one job to another. That said, if you want long-term job security and a work-based pension you need to primarily look for work with the larger chains. Small firms run by private individuals tend to come and go. It is not unusual for a privately run restaurant to remain open for only a few years. Whereas if you work for a hospitality chain, if they have to close one of their hotels, clubs or bars they will normally be able to offer you work elsewhere.

The chance to have a career

If you want to become a manager you will find plenty of opportunities in the hospitality industry. All premises need a team of managers. To qualify for these roles you will need experience of working within the industry, and may have to take a few courses. The hospitality industry is a tight knit one, so it is important to make a good impression wherever you work. If you work hard and plan ahead, you can easily have a long and successful career within the hospitality industry. Many who work in the industry end up setting up their own company after a few years, so hospitality work can be a good stepping-stone to bigger and better things.


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