Archive for Educational Funding

Health Care Decisions

This is a tough subject, but there are three decisions you should make regarding your life-support preferences, because not making them could cause you and your relatives undue pain.

1. TO HAVE OR NOT TO HAVE A LIVING WILL:

A Living Will is a document explaining which medical treatments you want if you have a life-threatening illness or are too sick to voice your own wishes. You don’t need a lawyer or doctor to write a Living Will, but consulting both isn’t a bad idea. The forms for Living Wills are easy to fill out and vary among states.

2. WHO TO APPOINT AS HEALTH-CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY:

A health-care power of attorney form designates a specific person to make decision for you when you cannot. The person you choose might be your spouse or a close family member. Although current spouses are the legal next of kin and almost always have power of attorney, this doesn’t mean a family won’t challenge their decisions.

The person you designate to call the shots for you should have the following qualities:

• Assertiveness. This person needs to state your wishes and stay firm to them amid differing opinions from relatives and hospital staff.
• Accessibility. You need someone who can be available quickly and give you his or her attention for undetermined periods of time.
• Money sense. Your health-care proxy should understand and follow your instructions for how your finances should be allocated for your care.

3. ELECTING TO HAVE A DO-NOT-RESUSICTATE ORDER:

You can opt for a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order even if you don’t yet have a living will or health care power of attorney. This order means that if your heart stops or you stop breathing, the medical staff won’t try to revive you. You have to specifically ask for a DNR and put it in writing. If you don’t ask for one, you’ll get the default RLC order (That’s Resuscitate Like Crazy!)

“Perfection is not attainable,
but if we chase perfection we
can catch excellence.”

-Vince Lombardi

Best Credit Cards

The majority of people do not investigate the “True Cost” of credit cards. The annual fee, late fee and interest charges are moot points that are overshadowed by “miles” or special offers. In addition, those “freebies” have a cost. Either you pay for it via interest rates on the credit card or the merchant/vendor pays for it (which you are actually paying for in higher prices). As mentioned in earlier blogs you may get “1 mile” for each dollar you spend, yet that $1 spent is cashed in, when you redeem them, at one (1) penny. It does take a lot of work to do all the calculations. I found a site that does a good job in filtering all these confusing offers. The “free” portion of the site does give you an excellent starting point to make decisions. You can pay an additional fee for more comparative studies. Give it a try. www.viewfromthe wing.com

Happy Flying!

Gym Fiscal Fitness

It’s the New Year and you’re ready to start a fitness regimen. This means looking for the right health club membership without hurting your wallet. But before signing a membership, consider how often you would really go. Typically, most new members end up going to the gym about once a week. So try testing your commitment with a plan that allows you to pay per use. Or ask about trial offers because you can sample classes. But make sure there are no strings attached. Remember, specials vary from gym to gym, so bargain with the sales representative for a reduced rate. Also, many health clubs have monthly membership quotas, I would hold off until the end of the month before signing that contract. This may give you more negotiation muscle and keep your wallet fit.

College Aid

By springtime most college bound students have made their school selection and are finalizing their financial aid package.

You may be sending one child off to school this fall but what about the younger ones still in the house?

Is it never too early to start planning for the next college bound students (true most Americans procrastinate until the last minute).

Here is some information that may be helpful.

Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (Fafsa)—preferably, as soon as possible after January 1—is necessary to be considered for financial aid from federal and state government and from most colleges and universities. This includes grants, loans and, even, sometimes, merit-based aid.

Although the federal deadline for filing the Fafsa for the 2015-16 academic year isn’t until June 30, 2016, many states and schools have deadlines in early 2015 and some award aid on a first-come, first-served basis, says noted financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz, co-author of the book Filing the Fafsa and senior vice president and publisher of Edvisors.com, a website focused on planning and paying for college.

Even families who think they are too wealthy to qualify for free or subsidized aid or who were previously turned down should file the Fafsa. According to the 2011-12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (Npsas), 11.3% of students whose parents earned $100,000 or more received need-based grants from their colleges and 18.9% received non-need and merit-based grants.

To be sure, the Fafsa, which requires over 100 data elements and takes an hour to complete, is intimidating to families, he says. Kantrowitz states: “The sad thing is, I wrote a 250-page book to help people complete a six-page form.” “That shows you how complicated it is.” The book is downloadable for free in PDF format at Edvisors.com. It is also available for purchase in paperback and Kindle formats at Amazon.com.

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Extra Tip:

Save time and money with TripIt (tripit.com). The free app organizes your travel plans and give updates on flight changes.

How Arthur Laffer Would End Trade Warfare

Laffer argues that currency manipulation is as much an obstacle to free trade as tariffs and protectionist regulations. Politicians promote currency devaluation in the mistaken belief that it will boost their country’s economy through increased exports. In fact, he argues, their subsidization of exports causes long-term economic damage. This, he argues, is why Japan’s stock market valuation nowadays is only 7% of the world’s total, versus 42% in 1988.

So why do countries keep doing it? When he was asked Laffer, who is as driven as a preacher, the partisan hackles rose on his neck. “Ask yourself about Obama! Why does he keep doing what is silly? Whoever heard of a poor man spending himself into wealth? It’s dumb. But we try stimulus spending all of the time. Whoever heard of an economy being taxed into prosperity? The only place you can find this is among professors at Princeton. It’s crazy!” says the Stanford University Ph.D.
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Extra Tip:

Use GasBuddy. The mobile app helps you find the cheapest gas in the area.