How to Build a Savings Plan for Your Children

One of the best ways you can provide for your children is to create a savings plan for them when they’re young and contribute to it gradually. As your children grow, so, too, will their savings.

You may also consider investing for your child, provided that the investments are wise and promise a decent return over time.

Creating a savings and investment strategy can be beneficial for both you and your children so when they grow up they’ll be in a solid financial situation during their college years.

Consider these options to build savings for your children:

  1. Open a savings account. Savings accounts don’t have a high rate of return, but what they do offer is a safe place for you to put your child’s money over time. This is the most basic option available, but may be a good place to start.
    • When opening an account, read the fine print about fees and minimum deposits, so you can choose something that works for you.
    • The savings accounts available to you may actually vary from bank to bank, so look at a few different options before you settle on the best savings account for your child.


  2. Invest in a CD. A CD or Certificate of Deposit is a low risk, low return type of investment that typically locks your funds in place for a specific period of time. The term length you choose may impact the interest rate. You can choose the term length, such as 5 years or 10, 15, 20, and so on, depending on your needs.
  3. Invest in a College Savings Plan. Also known as a 529 plan, this is a tax-advantaged plan designed to encourage saving for higher education expenses. Growth on these accounts from interest is tax-deferred, and, when needed, withdrawals may continue to be tax-free when applied to specific educational expenses.
    • There are two different types of 529 college savings plans. The first is a prepaid tuition plan and the second is a savings plan. Each of these types have different basic mechanisms for use and are available in specific areas, so check with your state for what would work best for you.
    • Prepaid tuition plans are available in 13 of the 50 states and allow for pre-purchase of the child’s tuition based on the current rates. They pay out when the beneficiary enters into college.
    • Savings plans base your account earnings on the market performance of whatever underlying investments there are, such as mutual funds, for example. These plans are administered by the state and available in 49 of the 50 states and Washington D.C.
  4. Utilize a custodial account. This is a savings account or certificate account held in a minor’s name. The dividends are registered under the social security number of the child, though your name will be listed as the custodian for the account.
    • With this type of account, you can transfer funds to the minor while still managing the account. Once the funds are deposited, they become the property of the minor and can only be used to benefit the minor.
    • When the minor reaches legal age, funds are turned over to him or her.

These are just some of the options available to you for preparing for your child’s future. When you consider the costs associated with raising a child and sending him or her to college, it makes sense to put a plan into place as early as you possibly can.

Benefits of Investing in Gold and Silver

One of the most important considerations when investing is to diversify so that your money isn’t all invested in a single basket. One investment that is well worth considering for your portfolio is purchasing gold and silver. You can invest in the actual metals, collectible coins, or in gold and silver futures, which is similar to stock investing.

Gold and silver investing isn’t for everyone, but this can be a solid investment strategy. Whether you’re collecting coins for the sake of an enriching hobby or for the investment value that comes from future resale, gold and silver can be quite advantageous.

Upward Trends for Silver and Gold

In recent years, gold and silver have both substantially increased in value. Since the year 2000, the price of gold has more than tripled. Since 2005, the value of silver has increased over 600%, doubling in price the past couple of years.

In contrast, the value of the US dollar has been falling. With the US government printing money in vast amounts like never before, the value of a dollar is predicted by many experts to fall further and faster.

As a result, many wise investors are putting part of their portfolio into silver and gold – both for their investment value and as a hedge against the falling dollar.

Here are some benefits of investing in gold and silver:

  1. Security. The investment can be physical rather than just on paper. Many investments are only on paper, such as stocks and bonds. They are virtual investments with nothing physical to back them up. On the other hand, a coin collection is something that you can hold and touch.
    • Due to the physical nature of a coin collection, there is added perceived value because rather than just the value of the metal collection, you can determine the personal worth of your collection by the condition, age, and rarity of the coin in addition to the coin’s metal content.
    • Proof mint, numismatic, and semi-numismatic coins are historically more valuable than bullion coins due to their intrinsic and collectible value on the market. Bullion coins are generally valued only by the amount of silver and gold in them.
    • Even in times in the past when the US government has forbidden hoarding gold by its citizens, it has allowed the collecting of valuable coins because their perceived value goes further than just the value of the silver and gold in them.
    • Many people collect coins not only due to their worth monetarily, but also because of the rich historical value that comes with each one.
  2. There are a variety of ways to invest. With so many different types of coins available, there are a wide variety of ways you can kickoff your investment. You can choose to collect historical coins, new coins, silver coins, gold coins, rare coins, misprinted coins or more, depending on what your individual interests are.
    • If you let your personal interests guide how you invest in coins,  you’ll end up with a completely unique and valuable collection.
  3. The investment can be liquefied easily. Although the amount of money you can receive by selling your collection will vary from coin to coin, a coin collection is generally something that you can turn into cash very quickly.
  4. Anyone can invest in gold and silver. It doesn’t take a lot of knowledge or experience to begin a coin collection: just a little bit of research, some planning, and a love of coins and investing. It’s a worthwhile investment for people of all walks of life – young and old.

Diversifying is important when it comes to investing. You should never invest solely in gold or silver, or solely in any other type of investment. Invest in several different types of investment vehicles, and your portfolio will be much stronger.

What To Do When You’re Finally Debt Free

As an added piece of advice, your intention should be to remain debt free once you’ve gotten to that point. It will take some keen attention, but it’s undoubtedly attainable.

These strategies will help keep you from incurring debt and additional interest:

·         Return all but a couple of your credit cards. Keeping some open and active will enable you to build a higher credit score for future loans, like a mortgage loan.

·         Use your cards from time to time, but have the cash available to pay off the total amount charged before the first payment is due.

·         Settle any interest or debt you do incur at the soonest possible time.

·         Build up your savings to handle emergency cash needs.
Adhering to these simple tips will make it easier to prevent debt and interest and maintain control of any debt you do incur.

So there you have it – easy ways you can avoid interest being applied to your day-to-day expenditures. By using these tips, you’ll significantly lessen the chance of being exposed to the burdens brought about by debt.

Four Easy Ways to Avoid Interest

Interest can really wreak havoc on your financial position! It’s so easy to end up in constant debt because of interest applied by your financial institutions and other organizations.

 Fortunately for you, it’s fairly easy to avoid interest in most cases, as it essentially relies on your financial decisions and how quickly you make them.


Try these tips to avoid interest in some day-to-day scenarios:


1.      Pay your car loan on time.If you’ve acquired a car loan through a financial institution, there’s bound to be fees for making late payments. In many cases, these fees are added on to your remaining balance and make your monthly payments that much higher. The best way to steer clear of scenarios like this is to pay your car loan on time. 

·      This bit of advice goes for any other loan you could have, including a mortgage.

·         Institutions will always apply fees and charges to delinquent accounts and you do notwant to be in that position.


 2.      Avoid going over the limit on your credit card. Having a credit card could be considered a liability to begin with if you’re unaware of how to properly manage it.

·         It becomes even worse when you end up going over your limit.

·         The fees that the financial institutions add on once you go over your limit are exorbitant and can really push you into debt. At all costs, sidestep those expenses if you want to remain debt free.


3.      Consider automatic deductions. You’re probably like many other people who would prefer to make monthly commitment payments on their own accord as opposed to having automatic deductions from their bank accounts. However, it makes more sense to do automatic deductions because: 

·         You’ll eliminate the possibility of incurring fees and charges from missed or late payments.

·         Automatic deductions ensure that your payments are taken from your account on a set date. As long as you have money in that account to cover the payment, you’re sure to get your payments made on time without late fees or added interest for delinquency.  

4.      Avoid credit; use cash. With credit inevitably comes interest, unless you pay the total due on your account before the first due date. It doesn’t get any simpler than that! If there’s any remote way you can make a purchase or complete a transaction with cash, then by all means take that route as opposed to credit to avoid interest altogether.

Avoid These Probate Issues & Save Your Estate for Your Heirs

All estates must go through the probate process. Probate is the legal process of determining if a will is valid, paying any qualifying debt and estate taxes, and distributing whatever assets remain.

Probate is potentially a very complicated legal process, and an attorney should be involved in any estate planning activities.


Using these strategies will help you design your estate to avoid some common challenges of the probate process and save you money:

  1. Have a valid will to minimize issues during the probate process. Probate can last up to a year in many cases {some probate cases have dragged out for several years}; typically this is due to a protracted process of validating the will. Probate is a legal process, so the longer it takes, the more money the attorneys make. Be sure to draw up your will with an attorney and review it annually for anything that needs to be addressed.  When my wife’s father died, his estate was in probate for almost 2 years due to a lack of a will. Don’t let this happen to your heirs.
  2. Avoid having your assets pass through probate.
  • Create one or more trusts. Assets and property within a properly drafted trust avoid the probate process. They are simply transferred to the beneficiaries of the trust. This also has the effect of providing greater protection of the assets from creditors.
  • Name beneficiaries for your 401(k) account. This will allow the account to avoid having to pass through the probate process. Again, this can provide protection from creditors.
  • Name beneficiaries for your IRA. As with the 401(k), naming at least one beneficiary will avoid probate and can shield the assets from creditors. Just call your IRA firm and they can help you out.
  • Name beneficiaries on your life insurance policies. This is the same situation as above. If you don’t name a beneficiary, then the proceeds are simply paid to your estate and must pass through probate, increasing the attorney’s fees. To avoid this costly expense be sure to name your beneficiaries!
  • Own Assets Jointly. This can include almost anything: real estate, vehicles, stocks, and more. A jointly owned asset is passed on to the survivor automatically.

    • Your bank account can have a paid-on-death designation (P.O.D.), and brokerage accounts can have a transfer-on-death (T.O.D.) designation, allowing ownership of the accounts to pass directly to the beneficiaries upon your death.
  • Give it away: You can gift your assets to anyone you choose, each year, up to a specific amount, tax-free. As of 2011, you can give as many people as you want a gift up to $13,000 without having to worry about paying taxes on the gift.

    • Also, the tax only kicks in after you have gifted a total of $1 million over your lifetime. Any gifts that do not exceed $13,000 do not count towards the $1 million limit. Interestingly, it is the gift-giver that is responsible for paying the tax, if any.
    • This reduces the amount of your estate and will lower the probate costs, since they are typically based upon the total value of the estate. See your tax preparer for more information.


Except under certain circumstances, assets that avoid probate are still subject to federal estate taxes, including those assets held in living trusts. A good estate tax attorney can guide you through this maze so that probate expenses will impact your family as little as possible.

The real enemies in the probate process are lack of planning and failure to utilize all the available options. Having your will prepared properly will eliminate the amount of time your estate spends in the probate process. In the legal world, time is very expensive. You don’t want the attorneys to get your money instead of your heirs.

By properly planning your estate with the appropriate financial and legal professionals, you can maximize the amount of your estate that passes to your family, friends, and charitable organizations. The unfortunate alternative is that more of your estate will pass to your creditors, various attorneys, and the legal system.