Why Aren’t 529 Educational Savings Plans More Popular?

Why aren't 529 educational savings plans more popular?
How do you plan to fund your children’s education? You’re probably counting on scholarships and grants, right?

Reliance on scholarships and grants is the highest in a decade, while college savings is on the decline, according to a new report from Sallie Mae.

Savings covers less than one quarter of collegiate funding for the typical family. As a result, one of the strongest educational savings programs – 529 plans – is being underutilized.
Continue reading

10 Best States to Live in with a Bad Credit Score

Where You Can Make the Best of a Bad Credit Situation

10 Best States To Live In With A Bad Credit Score

It’s no fun having a bad credit score. You pay higher interest rates for your credit – if you can get credit at all. You have little room for financial error. A small, unexpected bill can cause big problems.

At least your hardships may not be as bad if you live in certain states.

RewardExpert, a site that helps users optimize credit and debit card reward programs, examined factors that affect residents with poor credit – such as typical expenses, usury laws to limit predatory lending, and the status of debt collectors – and how those factors vary in each state.

Where is bad credit more tolerable? Consumers with bad credit should avoid the coasts and stick to the Midwest – not surprising, given the typically high costs of living in coastal areas.
Continue reading

6 Instagram Marketing Tips For Brands

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms ever to have been invented, and is estimated to reach 1 billion users by the end of 2018. Most people use the app to look at pictures or videos while they’re waiting in line at the doctor’s office, at a store, or anywhere else.

As with other networks, Instagram is a great opportunity for marketers and brands, especially. Approximately eighty percent of all Instagram users follow at least one company. The shocking thing about the app is that 6 out of 10 users are adults, so it’s actually less popular with kids.

Since adults are capable of making spending decisions, brands have to set up an Instagram account and nurture their audience as best as possible. Here are several tips that might be able to assist new companies to tackle the challenges of the platform.

  1. Optimize your bio and bio link

Your bio has to be short and sweet and tell people exactly what you can do for prospective customers. While some marketers advise against it, sometimes it is a good idea to use hashtags in your bio. The link needs to be valid, and that’s why you have to check it once in a while. Otherwise, you might risk losing important clients if you don’t pay enough attention.

  1. Be authentic

Creating unique posts on Instagram can be difficult, and that’s because most people want their photos to have the right lighting and look just as good as those posted by more prominent brands. However, what you should never try to do is imitate other companies in your field, particularly visually. Sure, you can learn from them and analyze the way their representatives interact with customers, but your posts have to be authentic.

  1. Keep tabs on the right hashtags

Even before setting up your account, do a bit of research to know just what hashtags you can use depending on the area of your expertise and your industry. We said it before, and we’ll repeat it. Learn from the best of your competitors.

  1. Contests

Contests are a great way of gathering followers. Although the practice of launching a call and asking people to follow your page so that they can be considered in a contest might be frowned upon by both Facebook and Instagram, it is an effective technique of broadening your audience.

  1. Spotlight your customers

If you’re in the industry of making motorcycle fairing speaker systems and you’ve noticed that there are folks who have installed and used the ones you manufacture, and taken pictures of them, all you have to do is re-post their photos. Make sure to tag them, though, because they will likely feel appreciated and flattered that a manufacturing brand has showcased their pictures. The shots don’t have to be professional, and they won’t ruin the overall looks of your page. This practice might be good for your budget, too, as it’s a free way of telling folks that you care about your customers.

  1. Stories and live videos

Whether you manufacture or sell something, the fact of the matter is that Instagram Stories can make the difference when it comes to communicating with your followers and potential clients. If you take video of something you’re working on, people will know how the things or services you offer are really done.


Matt Ryan’s Net Worth

Summer is fast approaching and NFL football is many months away; however, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any news being made around the league.  Teams are now beginning their summer workouts.  Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons, hope to return to the playoffs again this year with sights set on the Super Bowl.  Matt Ryan has had quite an offseason.  Matt Ryan’s net worth is now at $90 million.

Image result for matt ryan's net worth
Falcons QB Matt Ryan

Most would agree that Matt Ryan is well on his way to the Hall of Fame.  The Falcons quarterback just completed his tenth NFL season, all of which have been in Atlanta.  A former number three overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, Ryan has lived up to the hype.  The 33 year old has thrown for over 41,000 yards and 260 touchdowns during his tenure.  Although his stats fell last season, it was his 2016 Super Bowl run that helped seal him a gigantic contract this offseason.

Earlier this month, Ryan and the Falcons organization agreed to a five year $150 million contract extension.  This contract came a signing bonus of over $46 million.  It was this bonus that helped to jump Matt Ryan’s net worth to nearly nine figures.

Even though he just signed a large contract, Matt Ryan’s net worth got off to a hot start as soon as he was drafted in 2008.  His initial rookie contract was worth $67.5 million for the first six seasons.  Because of the consistent play he exhibited on a yearly basis, the Falcons extended their quarterback’s tenure with the team in 2013.  In 2013, he signed a five year deal valued at over $100 million.

After the 2018 NFL season, Matt Ryan’s career NFL earnings will top $200 million.  While it may sound absurd that any professional athlete will earn so much during their career, one must remember that athlete salaries have been trending steadily upward over the last decade.  One could make the point that Ryan has earned his keep.  He has been named to the Pro Bowl four times, and was awarded the 2016 NFL MVP.

The contract just extended to Matt Ryan will keep him in Atlanta until the quarterback turns 38.  We anticipate that after the 2022 season another contract extension will be worked out unless Ryan opts to retire.  If he is able to play through the end of his extension, Ryan’s career earnings will top $300 million and Matt Ryan’s net worth will easily be in the nine figure range.

Signing a large contract isn’t the only exciting news that has occurred for Matt Ryan over the offseason.  Matt and his wife welcomed twins.  Despite having two new mouths to feed, we can be assured that Matt has his financial situation worked out for his two new sons,

Long-Term Mortgage Rates Hit a Seven-Year High

It Will Cost You More to Buy a Home

Long term mortgage interest rates reach seven-year high
The housing market topped a new threshold over the past week. Buoyed by a strong economy and a series of interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve, thirty-year fixed mortgage interest rates reached 4.61 percent – the highest number since May of 2011.

Rates crossed the 4 percent threshold in the week of January 11 and they have been on a relatively steady rise since then. If this pace continues, we may hit 5 percent before the year is out.

Should rising interest rates deter you from buying a home? Not necessarily, but it may cause you to re-think your definition of an affordable home.
Continue reading

Retirees Would Return to Work Under the Right Conditions

More Than Half Of Retirees Would Return to Work Under the Right Conditions

Are you planning to work in retirement? If so, is it because you need money? The recent American Working Conditions Survey (AWCS) from the Rand Corporation think tank suggests another reason – you want to be there.

A Rand brief on the AWCS survey compared working conditions and expectations of older workers (age 50 and up) to those of workers in their prime working years (ages 35 to 49).

Over half of those aged fifty and above who weren’t working or looking for work said they would return to work under the right conditions – but what are those conditions? Do they match up well with today’s workplace?
Continue reading

4 Smart Steps to Take If You’re Stressed About Taxes

Tax season is one of the most stressful times of the year for everyone. Whether you are an accountant who is working over 80 hours per week or a single mother who is trying to file taxes and take care of children at the same time, it’s a time of year that is stressful for all types of people in all situations. But the stress doesn’t have to take over your life! Here are four steps you can take to help ease the stress of filing taxes.

File Early

One of the easiest ways to avoid stress during the tax season is to file your taxes early. Waiting to file your taxes until closer to the deadline increases your chances of missing a deduction or making a mistake, so taking your time will benefit you in many ways. One other benefit is that the sooner you file, the sooner you’ll receive your refund! You’ll also avoid having to pay a penalty fine for filing late.

Take Care of Your Body

Whether it’s because of long hours or because of stress eating, you’re most likely going to be doing a lot of snacking during tax season. One way to help yourself feel well throughout the whole process is to eat right, drink enough water, and get enough sleep. Good snack options include fruits, vegetables, and salads, which are all pretty simple to prepare and take to the office or keep at home. Keeping up healthy eating habits throughout your tax season will help your mind stay alert and will keep your energy levels up.

Figure Out a Payment Plan

Image via Flickr by CreditDebitPro

Another common source of stress during tax season is having to pay off any debts that may be owed to the IRS. By setting up a payment plan, the stress of having to pay off potential debt can become significantly decreased. If your debt is less than $50,000, you may qualify for a payment plan through the IRS directly, which is cheaper and more convenient than other payment plans out there. You can apply for this payment plan online.

File for an Extension

If you’re getting down to the wire and think you need more time to finish your taxes, you can file for an extension from the IRS. Anyone is eligible for a six-month extension by filling out the appropriate paperwork and submitting it to the IRS. Filing for this extension will keep you from having to pay any penalty fees, which can help eliminate extra stress. Some people are exempt from having to ask for more time to file their taxes, so check the IRS website to see if this exemption applies to you.

There are many stresses that come with tax season that everyone deals with. By following these steps, however, you can avoid any extra stress that may come from this time of year. Knowing your payment options as well as your IRS tax relief options will be a great benefit to you in the coming tax season. If you have major problems with your taxes, contact a professional. He or she will help you figure out the best way to take care of your taxes.



Only 37% Of Millennials Have Retirement Accounts

 Few millennials Have Retirement Accounts -- New Study Shows Lack of Retirement Preparation
Who’s thinking about retirement when they’re young? Only about a third of millennials have retirement accounts.

They’re typically not a priority for young workers – but they should be. That’s precisely the time to take the greatest advantage of compounding interest by contributing as much as your fledgling budget can afford.

A new study from the University of Missouri suggests that millennials, the youngest working generation, are not sufficiently preparing for retirement.

Few Millennials Have Retirement Accounts

Continue reading

Matt Harvey’s Net Worth

The 2018 MLB season is almost a quarter of the way over.  While there is still a lot of baseball to be played, headlines have been made thus far.  One of these headlines deals with the trade of pitcher Matt Harvey.  Harvey had spent his entire professional baseball career with the New York Mets until earlier this month.  On May 8, 2018, the New York Mets traded their pitcher to the Cincinnati Reds.  Matt Harvey’s net worth sits at approximately $7 million.

Image result for matt harvey's net worth
MLB Pitcher Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey is a former seventh overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft out of North Carolina.  His signing bonus right out of college exceeded $2.5 million.  This initial signing bonus started the ascension of Matt Harvey’s net worth throughout his MLB career.  He spent some time with the Mets minor league organizations before being called up during the 2012 season.  He started ten games that year and impressed his coaches and fellow players with a 2.73 ERA (earned run average).

Matt continued to improve upon his rookie campaign and over the next two seasons played was a full time starter in the Mets rotation.  In 2015, he set career bests in innings pitched (189.1) and wins in a season (13).  He also won the NL Comeback Player of the Year award during the 2015 campaign.  This was due to the fact he missed the entire 2014 season because of Tommy John Surgery.

Although he is only beginning his fifth full season of pitching in the MLB, Matt Harvey has yet to sign a massive contract that many pitchers enjoy.  He will be making a little more than $5.5 million this season which helps boost Matt Harvey’s net worth.  If he is able to turn in a respectable season, then the Reds or any other team, will have the opportunity to sign him to a new contract this offseason.

At the conclusion of this season, Harvey’s career MLB earning will be just shy of the $20 million mark.  While this might seem like a large chunk of change to many Americans, it fails in comparison to what some MLB pitchers are earning.  For example, Clayton Kershaw will earn over $35 million in salary this year alone.

No matter what happens at the conclusion of these season, one can expect for Matt Harvey to be pitching as a starter in the MLB next year.  A long term contract is most likely in his very near future, and it is this contract that should be able to push Matt Harvey’s net worth into the eight figure range.  It will be interesting to see how the Cincinnati Reds plan on using Harvey this season.  They already have a full pitching staff along with a starting rotation.  Regardless of where he’ll fit in, Harvey should enjoy the lower state income tax rates he’ll be paying in Ohio versus New York.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise