Author - Danielle L. Schultz, CFP®, CDFA

1
Financial planning for college: should you bother saving?
2
What I learned at Ukulele Camp that applies to finances
3
That other retirement account: Financial planning for HSAs
4
Don’t lose everything…financial planning for the unexpected
5
Ugh! UTMAs and UGMAs

Financial planning for college: should you bother saving?

Nobody wants to pay for something, then watch someone less deserving who gets it for free. A dear friend recently raised this situation: are you a sucker for saving, while somebody else spends freely and their kid gets more money from a college?

I’ll give a very qualified yes to this—there are a few situations where it doesn’t pay (very much, at least) to save for college. Let’s say you make under $75,000 a year and have no investments beyond retirement accounts. Your family probably will qualify for some serious financial aid, and would get less if you saved into …

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What I learned at Ukulele Camp that applies to finances

I’m pretty die-hard about DIYing everything I can. Yes, I know there’s a lot of argument that you should pay someone to do things while you’re out earning more per hour at something else, but I don’t buy it entirely. First of all, most of us spend plenty of time scrolling Facebook, binge-watching Netflix, and staring into the refrigerator. None of that is billable time.

There are a lot of projects that just require brute force and minimum skills—I’ll paint my bedroom over a weekend before I pay someone $800 to do it. However, I draw the line at danger …

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That other retirement account: Financial planning for HSAs

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) may be the best deal out there, if you can get it. All of us like to beat the tax man, right? HSAs are what’s known as triple tax free: you get a deduction when you put money into the account, the account grows tax free, and as long as you make withdrawals for allowable health care expenses (pretty easy to do), you don’t pay any tax on that either. They’re like a traditional IRA or 401k going in, and a Roth coming out.
But like many good things, there are a few problems and things …

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Don’t lose everything…financial planning for the unexpected

I love those articles that tell you everything you’re doing is wrong. Lifehacker had a decent one yesterday on how to wash your hair, swallow pills, do laundry, etc. One of the things you may be doing wrong is your will.

You do have a will, right? If so, you’re the exception to about 75% of the people I see. I see it so often that I have developed a boilerplate recommendation to include in my client reports. So don’t pay me to tell you what you already know! Get a will, health care advanced directive, and powers of attorney …

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Ugh! UTMAs and UGMAs

I’m not sure why anyone has these accounts anymore, but they do. I mostly see them during divorces, where one spouse has tried to transfer money to the kids in hopes of keeping it out of the divorce joint property. Technically, these accounts are considered property of the children (not marital), but as with so many other financial issues, it’s largely up to what the attorneys are able to negotiate.

Funding these accounts is a pretty poor idea in most cases, however. What you’re doing is putting all the money in the kid’s name: they’re entitled to it at 18 …

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