December 27, 2013

Misconceptions about College Savings

Occasionally I hear people express the view that they will be penalized for saving for their children’s college, saying that kids whose parents did not save are getting scholarships and their kids who have savings will not.  Yet the reality is that for most families, college savings does NOT hurt eligibility or financial aid. Utah’s 529 college savings plan ( is one of the best in the country.
“The reason is an asset protection allowance in federal student aid guidelines that covers non-retirement money based on a formula.  So, for example, for the 2013-2014 academic year, a family where the older parent is 52 can exclude $43,100 from a 529 plan from calculating EFC (expected family contribution). If that same family had saved $44,100, then they need only consider 5.64% of the extra $1,000 as part of their EFC.”
According to college consultant Lynn O’Shaughnessy, “You’re much better off with savings than not when it comes to college since a lot of college money comes in the form of loans.” So make a new year’s resolution to set up a regular contribution to your child or grandchild’s 529 college savings plan (and take advantage of the tax breaks, too).
Source: December 26, 2013
3 Steps Advisors Can Take to Help Clients Pay for College
By Gil Weinreich, ThinkAdvisor Editor-in-Chief Research Magazine

December 17, 2013

Give the gift of education with help from Zions Bank & Utah Education Savings Plan

This holiday season give a child a gift that they will remember for a long time. Establish a college savings account. The accounts offer tax savings and are an excellent way to save for college. There is no minimum contribution so no excuses. Skip the gift cards and toys imported from China. And get a $25 bonus!
"The Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP), Utah’s official nonprofit 529 college savings program, is teaming up with Zions Bank to help Utah residents give the gift of education this holiday season. Utah residents and beneficiaries who are new to UESP when they open a UESP college savings account before December 23, 2013, may be eligible to receive a $25 matching contribution, compliments of Zions Bank. To enjoy an extra $25 toward your college savings: visit to open a new UESP account or download an Account Agreement; enter the promo code 1213HOL; and contribute at least $25 to the new UESP account."
To qualify, both the account holder and the beneficiary must be new to the plan. Go to: for details. Thanks to Lindsay Whitehurst at The Salt Lake Tribune for info.

December 8, 2013

Utah Legal Guide for those 55 and Older

Seniors and their children should check out "Navigating Your Rights: The Utah Legal Guide for those 55 and Older" produced by the Utah Department of Human Services. You can download the book and find other resources for seniors at:

Vehicle Leasing Resource

If you are considering leasing a vehicle, check out this excellent resource:
“Don't Get Ripped Off Leasing a Car!  Get the best deal for your money” at:

December 5, 2013

Estate Planning 101

The Squared Away blog has a great summary of basic estate planning steps: Estate Planning 101: Who Knew?
Quoting the blog:
A good estate plan achieves four goals:
  • Distributes one’s assets to the desired person or people.
  • Ensures beneficiaries receive the money when you want them to.
  • Makes appropriate bequests either directly or indirectly through a trust, rather than a will.
  • Minimizes taxes.
What's missing from the excellent summary is the need for an Advance Health Care Directive (aka Living will) where you specify your wishes for end of life care and name a health care Power of Attorney to speak for you if you are unable to express your wishes. Each state provides specific guidelines. For Utah residents:

December 4, 2013

Reduce Junk Mail!

Tis the season when mailboxes fill with catalogs and various solicitations to attract our dollars. To reduce the amount of junk mail you receive, register for the "National Do Not Mail" list at
To register online you have to provide an email address so it's best to use one for an account that you rarely use. 
To opt out of mortgage, credit card and insurance offers, register at
Why bother? According to the Center for a New American Dream reducing junk mail you receive will "save energy, natural resources, landfill space, tax dollars, and a lot of your personal time." 

November 24, 2013

Managing Your Parents' Finances

Whether you are responsible for managing money for your aging parents, a disabled sibling or other family member, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers some publications to assist you. "Millions of Americans are managing money or property for a loved one who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions. This can be very overwhelming. But, it’s also a great opportunity to help someone you care about, and protect them from scams and fraud." The guides help you to be a financial caregiver in three ways: 1. They walk you through your duties. 2. They tell you how to watch out for scams and financial exploitation, and what to do if your loved one is a victim. 3. They tell you where you can go for help. Check out the CFPB resources:

November 8, 2013

Help in understanding the Affordable Care Act

The Kaiser Family Foundation produced an interactive slide show explaining how the Affordable Care Act can help the 47 million uninsured Americans obtain coverage. “In 2012, 47.3 million nonelderly people were uninsured. Lack of health insurance coverage affects many groups of people, including both workers and non-workers, people of all ages and geographic locations, and people with a range of health conditions. Through its coverage expansions, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has the potential to reach a broad range of groups. The interactive tool below examines how the ACA may affect various groups of uninsured people by analyzing how many are uninsured, the main reasons why they lack coverage, and how they may gain coverage under the ACA.” Check it out:
Utahns be aware that Gov. Herbert has so far refused to expand Medicaid, greatly restricting the number of uninsured Utahns who will have access to affordable health insurance. We all pay for those who are uninsured through higher insurance premiums.
Thanks to the excellent Squared Away Blog for information about the slide show.

November 7, 2013

LTCI info from Utah Dept. of Insurance

The Utah Dept. of Insurance website contains information on long term care insurance:

November 4, 2013

ACA Health Law Answers

Learn how the health care law works for you and your family by answering just a few questions. This AARP tool is for all ages and does not sell health insurance.

October 31, 2013

When Unmarried Couples Split

Breaking up is never easy but it may be even more complicated for live-in unmarried partners. “You put your heart into your live-in relationship, but you didn't put your name on a marriage license. Now, you and your partner have separated. And while you may be glad to see your erstwhile mate leave, you'd like to hold onto your money.” Check out the advice of Holly Smith in this CNBC article:

Financial Planning for Women does not sell, rent, loan, lease or otherwise provide any personal information collected at our site to any third parties.