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How Does Your 529 Plan Stack Up Against the Competition?

If you're one of the millions of parents or grandparents who've invested money in a 529 plan, now may be a good time to see how your plan stacks up against the competition. Mediocre investment returns, higher-than-average fees, limited investment options and flexibility--these factors might lead you to conclude that you could do better with another 529 plan or a different college savings option altogether. You can research 529 plans at the College Savings Plans Network website at collegesavings.org. If you discover that your 529 plan's performance has been sub-par, what options do you have?

Roll over funds to a new 529 plan

When Your Child Asks for a Loan, Should You Say Yes?

Perhaps you have plenty of money to lend, and you're not earning much on it right now, so when your child asks for a loan, you think, "Why not?" But even if it seems to be the right thing to do, look closely at potential consequences before saying yes.

You raised them, helped get them through school, and now your children are on their own. Or are they? Even adult children sometimes need financial help. But if your child asks you for a loan, don't pull out your checkbook until you've examined the financial and emotional costs. Start the process by considering a few key questions.

Why does your child need the money?

Reduce Summer Travel Times with the Global Entry Program

Reduce Summer Travel Times with the Global Entry Program


With the school year quickly coming to a close, thousands of Americans and foreign nationals alike will begin booking their summer getaways. Whether you will be flying to a popular international destination like Britain or France, or perhaps visiting the U.S. from Canada or Mexico, CBP offers the Global Entry Program to help shorten U.S. entry wait times at certain airports. 

Retirement Withdrawal Rates

During your working years, you've probably set aside funds in retirement accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s, and other workplace savings plans, as well as in taxable accounts. Your challenge during retirement is to convert those savings into an ongoing income stream that will provide adequate income throughout your retirement years.

Your retirement lifestyle will depend not only on your assets and investment choices, but also on how quickly you draw down your retirement portfolio. The annual percentage that you take out of your portfolio, whether from returns or the principal itself, is known as your withdrawal rate. Figuring out an appropriate initial withdrawal rate is a key issue in retirement planning and presents many challenges.

Why is your withdrawal rate important?

What is this new chip-card technology I've been hearing about in the news?

In recent years, data breaches at major retailers have increased across the United States. As a way to counteract these data breaches, many U.S. credit-card companies have started implementing a more secure chip-card technology called EMV (which is short for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa).

Currently, most retailers use the magnetic strips on the back of your debit or credit card to access your account information. Unfortunately, the information contained in the magnetic strips is easily accessed by hackers. In addition, the magnetic strips use the same account information for every transaction. So once your card information is stolen, it can be used over and over again.

With the new EMV technology, debit cards and credit cards are embedded with a computer chip that generates a unique authentication code for each transaction. So if your card information is ever hacked, it can't be used again--it's a "one-and-done" scenario.

Major Food Service Company to Distribute Weber’s Products to Restaurants

Major Food Service Company to Distribute Weber’s Products to Restaurants


Heintz & Weber Co., Inc. of Buffalo announced this week that the Sysco Foods New York Division in Syracuse has added Weber’s Brand Horseradish Mustard to its lineup and will now supply the legendary mustard to restaurant accounts in New York and Pennsylvania. This marks the first time that a major food service company has taken on Weber's products for widespread distribution. 

Initially, Sysco Foods New York Division has taken on Weber's Horseradish Mustard in the 12-ounce squeeze size. Additional Weber’s products will also be made be available to restaurants upon request. 

Enlisting ‘Dreamers’ into the United States Army

Enlisting ‘Dreamers’ into the United States Army


The House of Representatives last week voted to remove a measure from the National Defense Authorization Act that asked the Secretary of Defense to review policies on whether certain undocumented young people, often called “Dreamers,” can join the military if they have work authorization. During the last five months, the Pentagon has enlisted 81 of these “Dreamers,” individuals who arrived in the U.S. as children and qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona inserted the provision into the 2016 defense policy bill with the hope that the Secretary of Defense would consider qualified illegal immigrants as “vital to the national interest.”