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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
Kids and Money
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Help Your Child Understand Spending Money

The last few summers I have spent time compiling and creating educational money-related activities for young children. In other words, I get to read creative, insightful picture books and experiment with fun hands-on materials! Then, during the school year, University of Illinois Extension staff and volunteers present these lessons to youth. I am very impressed with how curious children 4-11 years...

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The Student Loan Chronicles: What is it?

Last month I wrote a post about starting the student loan chronicles . For those of us paying back student loans, this is usually what it feels like . You get paid, then your loan is due a few days later, and you feel like all of your money is gone! By knowi...

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FAFSA Update - What You Need to Know

Are you planning to attend college between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, or do you know someone who is? The FAFSA is available earlier this year! The FAFSA online form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) went live on October 1st. Completing the FAFSA is necessary to apply for federal student a...

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#FirstSevenJobs: Major Changes for Teens and Young Adults

What started out as a fun hashtag, #FirstSevenJobs, has led to a discussion about our country's major shift in employment trends for teens and young adults. While many of us list jobs starting in our teens (babysitting, lawn mowing, cooking hamburgers, etc.), in 2014 only one in four teens had a job . What will the other 75% of teens #FirstSevenJobs list look like in 20 years? I...

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Encouraging Young Entrepreneurs: Summer Reading

Do you have a fledgling entrepreneur in the house? Talking about money with kids is important as is giving them opportunities to practice with finances. Families tend to find different ways for their kids to practice money: some give allowances, some provide opportunities to earn money around the household, and in some families entrepreneurship is encouraged. Earning money can hel...

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Student Loan Repayment… You have options!

Yesterday my colleagues and I completed our third webinar about student loan repayment in the last three years. I thought it be helpful to include some of the important tips we covered during our webinar. Especially for those who have young adults who are going off to college soon, are in college or are currently in repayment. If you'd like to watch the entir...

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Do You Have a Savings Account?

Do you remember when you started your first savings account? I know I must have been pretty young when I first deposited money because I didn't quite understand how a savings account worked, and I was disappointed when I couldn't "withdraw" my Buffalo Nickel that I had deposited. That disappointment notwithstanding, I was a lucky child to have a savings account early in my life. Researc...

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A Timely Conversation: Revisiting College Budgets

It seems like only yesterday that we were saying goodbye as our students left for college, and now the semester is quickly winding up. As the students return home for the holidays, now is a good time to revisit financial plans. Spending plans (budgets) are working documents. After using a plan for awhile, it's important to evaluate and adjust it. This is true for everyone but especially for ne...

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Plan Well Retire Well Wins National Award

I'd like to take a minute to toot our own horn. The writing team behind the Plan Well Retire Well blog just won two awards for Internet Education Communications from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) at their annual conference held November 2-5, 2015 in White Sulfur Springs WV. We received first-place in the Central regi...

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Child and Dependent Care Credit – for Summer Camp Costs

Now that school's almost out, do you have plans for child care? The cost of child care during the summer can be quite the budget-buster! However, you may be able to cut the costs if you can use the Child and Dependent Care Credit. If you're sending them to summer camp, did you know that the money you pay for that may help you qualify for a tax credit on next year's tax return?...

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The Rising Cost of Prom and the "Promposal".

I think that social media is costing us much money. Until a few days ago, I had never heard of a promposal. Granted I went to high school in the stone ages when boys awkwardly asked girls at their lockers to go to the prom. My children's experience was not far removed from that other than all the couples went as a big group rather than as individual couples. My son even waited until the night b...

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Stories Help Share Values

Money is more than dollars and cents. We choose how we manage our money based on our personal values. Values help define who we are and what we do. During the holiday season our values about money are highlighted: how much do we spend on treats; do we use credit; do we give to charities? Many of us would like to pass along our values to children in our lives. However, it can be a challe...

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Naming a Guardian for Your Young Child

Recently I had a conversation with my sister about her estate planning. She is expecting and I was curious to know what she had planned in the event that she and her husband were to pass away. Her response floored me: she told me "That's what godparents are for." Although godparents can definitely be a potential choice for a guardian, without documentation from a will to nominate a personal gua...

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The Best Financial Tool for Young Adults …

What do young people do? They move: from home to college dorm, from one apartment to the next apartment, to the summer job, home again, to the next rental duplex, and so it goes! And in the process, stuff accumulates and stuff gets lost. One of the best financial tools I ever gave my sons is a simple, plastic file box. I gave them each one at the end of high school. It's a place to keep...

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Fun Financial Game Apps for Kids!

Summertime! It's a wonderful time of year to slow down and relax after a busy school year of homework, events, and bustling to be on time. Summer is also a chance for children to practice life skills including money management. Activities and conversations that involve our daily lives can help make money real to children. While you're shopping at the grocery store, paying the monthly bi...

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10 MORE Rules Money Savvy Kids Should Know by Age 18

I have mentioned before that I did not do a very good job of teaching my kids how to handle money. That is in part because my parents did not do a good job teaching me. Finances were something that were not talked about with children (who should be seen and not heard!). Many do not believe that family finances should be talked about and in some cases that is true. But, there are plenty of thing...

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10 Rules Money Savvy Kids Know by the Age of 10

I remember when my kids were young and they wanted everything in the stores as well as what they saw on television. It is difficult to explain to young children that there is a limited amount of money in almost anyone's household budget and what they think are absolute needs are actually wants. As my children got older, they wanted driver's licenses and cars and could not understand why they we...

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Summertime Staycation

Last month I wrote about Vacation Getaways and one of the options that I discussed was the concept of a "Staycation." So, what is a "Staycation?" A "Staycation" is a vacation in which you stay close to your home, exploring the area where you live, or having an opportunity to enjoy the smaller things in life that you may not...

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Moving towards Financial Independence

Do you have a young adult living in your home or are you a young adult living at home? If so, join the crowd! According to recent Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data, "In 2012, 36% of the nation's young adults ages 18 to 31–the so-c...

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Life's Financial Lessons during the Holiday Season

The other day I was talking to my sister-in-law about all the "life lessons" we want our children to learn before they grow up and leave our homes. The list is quite extensive – everything from doing laundry, cooking a nutritious meal, to protecting themselves from dangerous situations. When your children are 2 years old, you think you have eons to accomplish this! But before you know it,...

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Not So Scary Halloween Spending!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and it seems that many other people enjoy it too. According to the National Retail Federation , seven in 10 Americans plan to celebrate Halloween. The average person will spend $79.82; how much will you spend?...

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Back to School Costs: Stretching Your Dollars

Where did the summer go?  Here it is August and time for back to school supplies!  Back to school time can be an expensive time for families; I know it is for my family. While there's no doubt that children need school supplies, new clothing, and more, some planning ahead may help stretch your dollars. 1) Start by taking an inventory of what you currently have at home a...

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Save on taxes when paying for education

There are currently eight tax breaks that can help you reduce the cost of college or other post-secondary education. Whether you're saving for college for your kids, paying for classes you're taking right now, or making payments on student loans, there may be a tax break for you: Saving for future expenses Coverdell Education Savings Account Qualified Tuition P...

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Summer Jobs - What are Your Plans?

Classes -- done! Finals – done!  After too many hours studying, sleeping in and hanging with friends sounds grand. But, you need the money so off to work you go. This summer a smaller percent of youth will work since World War II. Only 25-27% of teens will find a job, predicts Andrew Sum of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. As a comparison,...

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Young Adults -- Lazy about Money? I don't think so!

Oh, the good old days! When I went away to college my freshman year, my financial life was relatively simple. All I really needed to know how to do was write a check and manage my money for entertainment. Food and housing costs were set and paid for in a lump-sum because I lived in a dorm. Finances for young people are more complicated now. With two sons leaving for college in a few wee...

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