Americans, know that they don’t know Personal Finances!

Americans suck at finances (via

Americans suck at financial stuff. “The bad news is that many people are missing a solid personal finance foundation,” Gail Cunningham, the vice president of public relations at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, tells Fox Business. “…

Continue reading “Americans, know that they don’t know Personal Finances!”

How to get your financial house in order by age 30 (USA Today- Money)

Author: Anne Godlasky, @annieisi, USA TODAY5:38 p.m. EDT May 16, 2013

New wrinkles. Pressure to procreate. And what have you checked off your bucket list lately?

leticia saberter
leticia saberter

Turning 30 can be stressful, even before thinking about personal financial goals and how to achieve them.

Adults 34 and younger grade themselves worse than any other age group in their personal finance knowledge, with 48% giving themselves a C or lower, according to a survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Financial planners say that needs to change. Millennials have a lot to do to get their house in order.

“I think every birthday you check your credit score and your weight, and one should be going up, and one should be coming down,” says Jean Chatzky, 48, a personal finance expert whose Money School webinars launched last month. “People around 30 are under more pressures than any prior generation,” she says, citing “tremendous” student loan debt, “stagnant” wages, the burst housing bubble and the burden of retirement and health care costs moving increasingly from employers to individuals.

In fact, the average net worth of those under 40 in 2010 was 7% below that of people in the same age range in 1983, the Urban Institute reported in March.

“Thirty today isn’t what 30 was a few decades ago. It could mean single and 30, or married with children,” says Megan Rindskopf, 26, a certified financial planner with ClearView Wealth Management in Charlotte. “I think the biggest issue for people in this age range is knowing how best to deal with competing priorities. A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck. This is kind of the age where you feel you need to grow up.”


A good benchmark is to have one year’s salary saved in retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), by age 30, says David Weliver, 32, who created the financial advice websiteMoney Under 30 after recovering from his own problems with debt. Weliver calls the goal “income-based, so it’s not comparing a kindergarten teacher and a Wall Street banker.”

Financial experts recommend saving 10% to 15% of every paycheck to retirement and savings accounts.

However, saving newbies shouldn’t start with 10%, some advise.

“It’s like going on a crash diet — if you go too high, it’s too painful and too likely to fail,” Chatzky says. “Once you manage to set aside 2% for three to six months, then notch it up another 2%. … I’ve never seen a budget where I can’t find some wiggle room.”

As you save money, here are steps to take:

1. Meet obligations. Pay your rent and minimum loan amounts on time to avoid charges and fees.

2. Build an emergency fund. If you have nothing, start with $500-$1,500 to avoid overdrafting your checking account, says Weliver, then grow that buffer into a savings worth three to six months’ salary, to support you in case you lose your job.

3. Pay into 401(k) up to company match. If you don’t do this, “you’re missing out on free money,” Rindskopf says. If your company doesn’t match your 401(k) contributions, Weliver still recommends donating 3- to 5%.

4. Pay off credit card debt. “The biggest payoff is going to come from two things — capturing any matching [401(k)] dollars and paying back credit card debt,” because it is high interest, says Chatzky.

5. Increase savings. Once you’ve paid off debt, built an emergency fund and started saving for retirement, “look at shorter term goals and figure out how much you’ll need in two to five years,” such as paying for a wedding, car or down payment on a house, Weliver says. “You don’t want to put everything in retirement if you don’t have enough to pay for the things you’ll need.”

6. Buy life insurance. “I absolutely recommend it if you’re starting a family or if you have a spouse who depends on you to pay the bills,” says Rindskopf. “Do a little research before you jump in and buy a policy.”

7. Increase 401(k) contributions to 10%, even if it’s beyond company match, Weliver says.

8. Pay off student loans on schedule. Student loans are “tax-deductible and the interest rate is generally low,” says Chatzky.

9. Open tax-advantaged accounts. “If you’ve maxed out [other savings], but you still have money to put aside, look at other tax advantaged accounts you can open. If you have a child, look at the 529” to save for their college education, Chatzky says.

10. Invest. If you’ve done all of this, increased your retirement and your savings and still have money to spare, you may consider investing in taxable brokerage accounts.


Chatzky, a mother of two teens, 18 and 16, says many young adults will need to “choose a smaller lifestyle than earlier generations.”

“It’s very demoralizing to think that the next generation won’t have a shot at doing as well as their parents did,” she says.

Weliver agrees that his generation has a different standard of living.

“We need to lower our expectations,” he says. “Retirement age may be 70. … That just may be the reality of our generation.”

With 32% of those 18-34 saying they put nothing toward retirement, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, even a later retirement date requires getting serious about personal finances as soon as possible.

“When you turn 30, it’s a really good time to make a five-year plan for your finances. Your 20s are notoriously uncertain — you may be moving, in and out of relationships and different jobs — so it’s hard to stick to a five-year plan because things change so quickly,” Weliver says. “By the time you’re 30, things may slow down a bit and there may be a natural progression in terms of savings and salary.”

Follow Anne Godlasky on Twitter @annieisi

How to get your financial house in order by age 30

Tax Heaven For Millionaires – Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Beach Condado Area By Potencial Millonario

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By NPR News

A few weeks ago, Alberto Baco Bague arrived in New York for a roadshow of sorts. In just 48 hours, Baco, Puerto Rico’s secretary of economic development and commerce, met with more than 30 hedge fund managers, investors and others who could be classified as very well-off.


For Baco and the Puerto Rican government, the benefits of injecting more rich people into the island are clear. “We are a poor island, and this is our way of developing [and] developing employment in Puerto Rico. We are very serious about that,” he says.s mission might seem quixotic at best: trying to convince these well-heeled New Yorkers to uproot themselves from Manhattan and relocate to Puerto Rico. But he says they are starting to come.

Baco has an enticing carrot for the investors. Under laws enacted in 2012, when someone moves to the island, all of that person’s investment income, like capital gains, dividends and the like — is completely tax-free. Plus, service income — say, a hedge fund’s management fees, is taxed at just 4 percent. And, as it is for all Puerto Rico residents, there’s no federal income tax.

Occasional Visitors Need Not Apply

The catch is that you can’t just set up a post office box and call yourself a resident. You have to move for real. Like Damon Vickers has.

“I love it. I love Puerto Rico, I love the climate, I love the people, I love the energy of the place,” Vickers says, sitting by the pool at the La Concha resort in Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan.

Vickers moved his hedge fund and his family here from Seattle earlier this year. He had been eyeing the U.S. Virgin Islands for a move, but then caught wind of Puerto Rico’s new tax benefits. For him, it’s about simple math.

“I like making money. And we want to go to a place where our money is treated the best, so we might benefit ourselves, and we might also benefit our investors,” he says.

His friends in the investing world are watching closely to see how he fares. Many are unaware the island even has a financial district, much less modern highways and shopping malls. Once they learn more, many worry about the crime, including a murder rate six times the U.S. average. And, given its gritty reputation, word hasn’t gotten out that the wealthy can live well in Puerto Rico.

Paco Diaz, with Trillion Realty Group, the local affiliate of Christie’s, is among those trying to convince them. Picking them up in his late-model BMW SUV, he takes investors around tony neighborhoods like Condado on the San Juan beachfront, pointing out homes selling for millions.

He shows off resort hotels, new condo buildings and high-end stores along a segment he says many call “the Puerto Rican version of Fifth Avenue.” New York’s storied shopping strip doesn’t have anything to worry about, but one block here does feature Louis Vuitton and Cartier.

To take advantage of the tax breaks, the rules say you must live in Puerto Rico at least 183 days a year and prove that you’re really part of the community. Your spouse must live with you, and your kids must go to local schools. Some of the best, like the private Saint John’s School, are just feet from the ocean, which Diaz uses as a selling point. He points out students attending a surfing school behind him. “They just go across the street with their surfing boards to catch some waves,” he says.

If the city life is not to the investors’ liking, Diaz takes them to the suburb of Dorado. It’s a gated community on steroids. Past its guards, you’ll find lush palm trees, golf courses, private beach clubs and a water park. A few nights at the Ritz Carlton resort here costs about what the average Puerto Rican makes in a year. Singer Ricky Martin lives around the corner.

Diaz’s colleague Coco Millares says the tax incentives are already boosting her business. “We have had, since they passed the law, much more interest in Dorado than we had before,” she says.

Hoping To Boost A Weak Economy

But back in San Juan, few residents had even heard of these tax breaks. When told the details, their reactions were mixed. One thought it could bring some much-needed money to the island. But others, like restaurant worker Estefania Colon, were resentful that locals pay taxes while the newcomers are exempt from many of them.

“They’re already rich, and they’re making more money from us?” she says.

Tax incentives are nothing new to Puerto Rico. For decades, tax breaks brought manufacturing and pharmaceutical firms to the island. But many incentives have been phased out, and some officials believe that’s one reason the island’s recession has been so deep. Unemployment is nearly 14 percent, and the average income is about half that of Mississippi.

The hope is that a few super-rich people will help turn some of that around and beef up the service and financial sectors, while also buying real estate, eating at restaurants, hiring locals and, eventually, maybe even invest their own money in big projects on the island.

The zero percent tax on investment income, and the 4 percent corporate tax, went into effect at the start of 2012. The goal is for 500 wealthy investors to come in the next four years. So far, 77 have applied.

The investment tax breaks are guaranteed until 2036. Only congressional action — or granting Puerto Rico statehood — would put a stop to them. But while some say this is just Puerto Rico becoming the latest tax haven, there has been little serious opposition.

Mauro Guillen, a professor of international management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, says Puerto Rico officials are being a bit optimistic about the direct effects.

“It is not going to create a major migration to Puerto Rico,” Guillen says. The biggest boon could be indirect, he explains. Even if just a few people move, it could change the conversation about the island.

“Puerto Rico will be making the headlines. It will be perceived as a location where you should do business in,” Guillen says.

Lawyer Fernando Goyco, who advises many of the investors, says in his practice, it’s millionaires, not billionaires, who are showing the most interest in moving for the tax deal. That could be a good thing for Puerto Rico, he says — too many super-rich moving here to avoid taxes could draw congressional scrutiny.

And he’s not surprised big honchos aren’t flocking to his island. “Moving somebody from New York to Puerto Rico, that’s very difficult, that’s very difficult. Moving somebody from Kansas to Puerto Rico [or] from North Carolina to Puerto Rico — it’s a different story,” he says, chuckling.

But as the word spreads, he says, millionaires are calling his office

529 vs otros sistemas de ahorro educativo

This is an article from Kiplinger which I love to reblog. Thank you Kiplinger.Custodial Accounts vs. 529 Plans 

Which type of account would be best to save for a child’s college fund?

By Kimberly Lankford, From Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, May 2013

My wife and I would like to start college accounts for our grandkids. We had custodial accounts for our kids in the 1980s, but those accounts seem to be out of favor now. What vehicle gives our money the best chance to grow over 20 years while minimizing taxes? We plan to open each account with $1,000 and have $50 automatically deposited each month. Financial aid is not a concern. –Doug and Deb Scharp, Portage, Mich.

Custodial accounts—called UGMAs, after the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, or UTMAs, after the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act—are a less-attractive way to save for college than they once were. Until a few years ago, these accounts were taxed at the kids’ low rates; now any investment income above $2,000 for children younger than 19 and full-time students younger than 24 is taxed at the parents’ higher rate. The first $1,000 of the child’s investment income in 2013 is tax-free, and the next $1,000 is taxed at the child’s own rate.

Money in a 529 plan, by contrast, grows tax-deferred, and the earnings can be used tax-free for qualified college costs. You may also get a state income tax break for your contributions. To qualify for the state tax break, you generally need to contribute to your own state’s 529 plan (although Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Missouri and Pennsylvania allow a deduction for contributions made to any state’s plan). Some states let anyone take a tax deduction for their contributions; others give the tax break only to the owner of the account. In Virginia, the account owner even gets the break on contributions to the plan from nonowners.

In states where only the owner gets the tax break, it’s a good idea for parents and grandparents to open separate accounts so they can both deduct their contributions. There’s no limit on the number of 529 accounts that can be opened for one child.

for details.

Got a question? Ask Kim at


The Internet Guide to Funding College and Section 529 College Savings Plans.