Saving for college with a 529
If you're going to be sending a kid to college someday, consider a 529 plan, said Jeff Reeves in USA Today. This government-approved, tax-free investment account is "one of the best tools out there" to help pay for a child's tuition. Anyone can contribute to a 529, so you can nudge your extended family and friends to pitch in to your offspring's collegiate future, too. Accounts are also transferable, so if one child doesn't go to college, the cash can be transferred to another 529 account without any penalties, and there's no time limit on when the funds need to be used. But you should still research your plan — there are dozens to pick from, and some impose fees, have minimum contributions, and cap how much you can save. Depending on your state, they may also offer income tax incentives.
Don't flee the market
Worried about the recent market sell-off? asked Melanie Hicken at CNN.com. Ignore the knee-jerk reaction to panic and sell, even if Wall Street's recent tumult delivered "a hit to your retirement savings." Financial planners say the wisest plan of action is to stay the course. As they always remind us in moments like this, investing in the stock market "is inherently volatile, but it's also the best way for retirement savers to build up nest eggs large enough to last decades." Over time, daily market fluctuations will eventually be eclipsed by longer-term gains. And since many retirement accounts are composed of different assets based on your age and career stage, "the effects on your portfolio may look different from the headlines."
Where to buy a home
We all know that when it comes to real estate, location is key, said Ilyce Glink at CBSNews.com. But a good address can actually be a drawback for buyers as "homes in the most desirable locations in any city are snapped up within days of going on the market — and at increasingly high prices." Homebuyers who are looking to save money as they search for their dream home should "avoid areas with a lot of name recognition." A location's reputation alone can swell the price of a house. Identify your favorite places, but don't shop there — look for comparable areas that have "a similar feel, but with a lower median list price." You may not even have to go far. Quite often "there can be a huge price difference between two cities located right next to each other."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
Subscribe to the Week