Business & Real Estate

Maximizing financial aid for college using 529 plans

I wrote in 2014 about a strategy involving 529 plans designed to maximize the financial aid a college student could receive. To summarize the original strategy: If you split your savings into two 529 plans – 75 percent in one owned by the student’s parents and 25 percent in one owned by the student’s grandparents – you will minimize the impact the funds in those plans will have on your expected family contribution each year and consequently maximize the financial aid your student potentially may be offered throughout his or her college career.


Five ways to extract the equity in your business

If you own a small business, chances are you expect to use the equity you’ve accumulated over the years to fund all or part of your retirement. The challenge is to structure the transfer in a manner that provides sufficient retirement income while minimizing both income and estate/gift taxes.

With these potentially conflicting goals in mind, following are a few approaches you might consider.


So you think you can pick stocks?

A study by JPMorgan Chase & Co. found that investing in individual stocks is somewhat akin to investing in the lottery.


New law impacts Social Security

President Barack Obama Nov. 2 signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which includes a number of changes to Social Security rules. With the stroke of a pen, Obama and Congress eliminated some lucrative benefits that had been on the books for well over a decade.


How to postpone taxes on retirement accounts

If you’ve been working for a midsize or larger employer, chances are you’ve been using a 401(k) to save for retirement. And even if you haven’t, you probably have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to which you’ve been contributing every year.


Strategies help legally safeguard retirement savings from creditors

When I ask the important question: “How safe is your IRA?” I’m not referring to the way your IRA custodian protects your account against hackers.


Balance competing goals and keep your savings from shriveling up

From the 1980s through the dot-com bust, you could have allocated a portion of your investment portfolio to money-market funds knowing that it would grow nearly risk-free at a rate at least 1 percent above the rate of inflation.


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