Another school year is drawing to a close — so if you have young children, they’re one year closer to the day when they head off to college. And both you and your children need to prepare for that day. Your kids can do so by developing good study habits. As for you, it’s never too soon to start preparing for the high costs of higher education.
Just how costly is college? According to the College Board’s figures for the 2012-13 academic year, the average cost for one year at an in-state four-year public school is $22,261; for a private school, the comparable expense is $43,289. And if college costs continue rising faster than the general inflation rate, these figures will increase substantially in the years ahead.
It probably doesn’t show up on your calendar, but May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month. And you might agree that such a month is useful, when you consider the following:
Summer isn’t here yet, but it’s getting close. And for many people, the arrival of summer means it’s time for swimming at the local pool or lake. If you’re just a casual swimmer, you probably don’t have to adjust your diet before jumping in. But that’s not the case with competitive swimmers, who must constantly watch what they eat and drink, particularly in the days and hours preceding their races. While you may not ever have to concern yourself with your 400-meter individual medley “splits,” you can learn a lot from swimmers’ consumption patterns — particularly if you’re an investor.
On Arbor Day, which we celebrate this week, people across the country plant trees. Of course, trees provide us with many benefits, including beauty, fruit and oxygen, as well as protection against land erosion. But the act of planting and nurturing trees can also guide our behavior in other areas of life — such as investing.
First of all, consider the vision and patience exhibited by tree growers when they plant their saplings. As an investor, you, too, need this type of perseverance and long-term outlook. When you invest, you should be focused on the long term yet be prepared for the inevitable short-term market downturns. How long is “long term”? Many investors hold quality investments for decades. It’s a long process, but the potential growth you seek will need this time.
Next week, we observe Earth Day. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day has grown into an international movement whose goal is to raise awareness of the need to take action to sustain a healthy, sustainable environment. You can do your part through recycling and other measures, but you can also apply some of the lessons of Earth Day to your financial situation — and, in particular, to your approach to investing.
Give these ideas some thought:
Life is full of ups and downs — and the financial markets are no different. As an investor, you’re no doubt happy to see the “ups” — but the “downs” can seem like a real downer. Isn’t there any way to help smooth out the volatility in your investment portfolio?
First of all, to cope with volatility, it’s helpful to know what causes it — and there can be many causes. Computers that make trades in milliseconds, based on mathematical models, are sometimes blamed for intraday volatility, but large price swings can also occur following the release of government economic reports, such as those dealing with unemployment and housing starts. Global events, such as the European economic malaise, can also send the financial markets into a tizzy.
You probably aren’t too worried about it, but April is Stress Awareness Month. Each year, the Health Resource Network sponsors this “month” to inform people about the dangers of stress and to share successful coping strategies. Obviously, it’s important to reduce stress in all walks of life — including your investment activities. How can you cut down on the various stresses associated with investing?
Here are a few possible “stress-busters”:
If you own a business, you may well follow a “do it now” philosophy — which is, of course, necessary to keep things running smoothly. Still, you also need to think about tomorrow — which means you’ll want to take action on your own retirement and business succession plans.
Fortunately, you’ve got some attractive options in these areas. For example, you could choose a retirement plan that offers at least two key advantages: potential tax-deferred earnings and a wide array of investment options. Plus, some retirement plans allow you to make tax-deductible contributions.
In selecting a retirement plan, you’ll need to consider several factors, including the size of your business and the number of employees. If your business has no full-time employees other than yourself and your spouse, you may consider a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan or an owner-only 401(k), sometimes known as an individual or solo 401(k). Or, if your goal is to contribute as much as possible, you may want to consider an owner-only defined benefit plan.
Spring is in the air — or, at the very least, it’s on the calendar this week. And if you’re like many people, you may be looking forward to doing some spring cleaning around your house and yard. But this year, why not go beyond your physical environment and do some “sprucing up” of your financial situation?
Here are a few possibilities to consider:
by Edward Jones Matthew North Financial Advisor If you’re a “Gen-Xer,” born between 1965 and 1980, you’ve still got many years to go until you retire. At this stage of your life, what can you do to help build resources for the retirement lifestyle you’ve envisioned? Besides having time on your side, you’ve got another […]