Guide to Funding College Education

The first step is to decide which avenue to pursue: do you want the student to come out debt free or do you want the student to have some “skin in the game”? If students know they are responsible for a portion, or all of the student loan repayment, they often take college more seriously. Once you know how much the student will be responsible for through student loans, simply take the total cost of education you are targeting minus the student loan portion, and the amount you will cover from free cash flow each year. This number will give you a rough idea how much you will need. You may want to run an inflation calculation or speak to an advisor to assist with those calculations.

Now that you have a target dollar amount to save, the next thing to consider is what vehicle to use for college savings. We will look at four account types commonly used:
• 529 plans
• Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts
• US Savings Bonds
• Custodial Accounts.

529 accounts are the most tax advantaged way to save in Nebraska and Iowa. Contributions are made to the plans with a maximum of $70,000 in one year (uses 5 years of gifting at the $14,000 per year gift tax threshold), and a state tax deduction of up to $10,000 in Nebraska and $3168 in Iowa. The contributions are invested in various portfolio options offered by each state. Any earning on the accounts are tax free if used for qualified education expenses. However, if the earnings portion is not used for education, there is a 10% penalty in addition to income tax.

Coverdell ESAs are similar to 529s, with lower contribution limits, but can be used for K-12 education. Additionally, Coverdell accounts must be used by the time the beneficiary reaches 30.

For both 529s and Coverdell ESAs, the funds can be transferred to another beneficiary if it is not needed or used for the first beneficiary, which allows for the owner to control use of the funds.

US Savings Bonds are one of the more flexible options best used for lower income savers. The bonds’ proceeds may be excluded from federal and state income tax if used for higher education and income limits are met.

Lastly, custodial accounts, often referred to as UTMA/UGMA accounts, are the most flexible in terms of what the dollars are used for. Custodial account contributions are gifts to the minor that become available for the minor at an “age of majority”, which is different in each state. The earnings are subject to income tax and may cause “Kiddie Tax” rules to apply. Additionally, for student aid purposes these accounts are considered the student’s assets and the person contributing has no control over the how the assets are used.

What to do if college is next year and you haven’t saved at all? First, don’t panic! 529 accounts can still be used as a “checking account” for education expenses, allowing for a state tax deduction (limits apply) in Nebraska and Iowa. Additionally, it is important to pay for at least $4500 of qualified education expenses out of pocket or from student loans in order to utilize the American Opportunity tax credit available for the first four years of college.

Finally, a common mistake is to use all liquid assets in the first few years, ignoring loans. This can cause a cash crunch later on when available loans may not be enough. Loans are offered each year, but have limits for the yearly amount borrowed. Typically, lower income borrowers will qualify for subsidized loans that accrue interest after graduation. Higher income borrowers qualify for unsubsidized loans subject to interest payments immediately. Because the loans offered may not be enough to cover the cost of education (tuition plus room and board), it is important to borrow wisely in the early years. So consider accepting subsidized loans early to ease cash flow later.

If in a real crunch for education dollars, Roth and Traditional IRAs can be tapped without penalty. Roth IRAs can be used tax and penalty free for higher education expenses, with limitations. However, this may impact retirement funding. Traditional IRAs may be used for high education without penalty, but are still subject to income tax and potentially impact retirement funding. Some 401ks offer loan provisions. Normally, I do not recommend 401k loans due to decreased contributions, lower rates of return, and lack of tax deductions for interest. If there is nowhere else to turn, a home equity loan may offer a lower rate and better deduction options than a 401k.

Regardless of how to fund a college education, it is a good investment in the future of a young person. Proper planning about who will take the financial responsibility and how to do so can alleviate some of the stress. As always, your education funding plan should be reviewed with an advisor or CPA.

This information does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material, it is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. All opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. As with other investments, there are generally fees and expenses associated with participation in a 529 plan. There is also a risk that these plans may lose money or not perform well enough to cover college costs as anticipated. Most states offer their own 529 programs, which may provide advantages and benefits exclusively for their residents. The tax implications can vary significantly from state to state. Please note that changes in tax laws may occur at any time which could have an impact on your situation. While I am familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as a Financial Advisor of RJFS, I am not qualified to render advice on tax matters. You should discuss tax matters with the appropriate tax professional.

4 Great Benefits That Will Change Your Perception of a Home Based Business

The world is not exactly how you view it – beautiful, easy and simple. More often than not, it’s the total opposite. If you’re experiencing life’s sucker punches and finds it a challenge to make both ends meet through your regular office work, this might be the perfect time to change the path of your career. How are you going to do it? Simple! Consider a home based business. If this sounds new to you, now is the time to test the water, take the plunge, and discover the many benefits of working from home:

You own everything – your time included!

This is one of the greatest things of working from home as your time becomes flexible that you need not follow specific standard working hours. Everything depends on your own pace, time and availability. Starting up a home based business can pave the way for you to enjoy your time whilst earning as you need not burn your seat from hours of working. You can always choose to loosen up for a while especially when the need calls for it.

You hold the title of being boss – of your own self!

Yes, you read it right – your own boss! Gone were the days of always following a cruel superior’s orders, overboard company policies and dealing with other difficult authorities. Now, as you make your own home based business, you likewise freed yourself from the shadows of monster-like people who boss around and give relentless commands. When you work from home, you somehow eliminate if not lessen dealing with this kind of people and be your own boss.

You become King or Queen of both worlds – your household and career life!

Yet, to an elevated degree! You may be working from home with a home based business with almost all of your time meant for work, but still, you remain to be king or queen of both worlds. Picture this: When you work at an office, you give your household less importance because most of your time is spent at your workplace. Unlike when you work at home full time, you both get to focus on two major things in your life – your household and career.

You create better relationship with the family – something money cannot compensate!

The biggest problem of busy people is time. They find it difficult to juggle between their professional careers and their family life. Given this, they somehow create barriers in their family relationship. They slowly become paying guests at their own house. The only connection left is the roof above their heads. If you’ve been like this for so many years, now is the time to consider working from home. This provides you better opportunity to mingle and communicate with the family more often.

In A Nutshell

A home based business is indeed worth a try. By all means, you won’t lose anything. Instead, you gained a fallback. If you think that your regular work isn’t doing enough for your finances, trying this new venture will certainly change how you view working from home.

Home-Based Business Checklist – 3 Things You Need to Do

First off I would like to start off by congratulating you for following in the footsteps of those successful entrepreneurs before you who have started out with a home-based business. You are in the same boat as successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Sir Richard Branson. I think we all agree that this is pretty esteemed company.Now, you may not feel the need to be as successful as these guys with your business but you should still do all that you can to make sure that your home-based business is successful. This article contains three tips that you should check off before starting your own home-based business. If you don’t follow this advice your business will not be as successful as it could be. You need to make sure that you:Get your own workspace- Whilst it may be tempting to think that you can start your own business on the couch, this will simply not be the case. You need to make sure that you have your own workspace for your work from home business. At the very least you will need a desk with your computer and a filing cabinet. That way you can make sure to keep your work life and home life separate. When you sit down to work it will just be about work and other household chores will not distract you.Get your Internet and phone connection sorted- With a home-based business you need to make sure that you get your internet connection and phone connection sorted out. For most people that work from home, their Internet connection is their most important tool to keep their business running. From there you can get access to VoIP services like Skype to keep in touch with clients and associates throughout the world very cheaply.Get a business card- Even though you work from home you still need to make sure that you have an air of professionalism. On of the best ways to give your business that air of professionalism is to make sure that you have a business card. The reason that you need to do this is so that you will have something to hand out when you attend the networking functions that all business owners should attend. You need to have a business card to hand out to potential alliance partners.When you are starting your own home-based business there are some things that you need to tick off. Fulfilling the three points that I have mentioned above will position you well on the path to success.

Why Have a Home Based Business?

If you know someone who has a home based business, you may have wondered how and why they do it. After all, it is easier to go to work for someone else. Well, yes and no. How much freedom do you have when you work for someone else? Do you have control over how much money you make? Do you set your working hours or does your boss set them? Do you have control over the management? Do you often see problems in management, but you cannot do anything about them? Have you ever felt stifled at your job? Working for someone else means you have little control over your working environment or the business decisions that directly affect you. Though it may be true that it is easier to let someone else have all the responsibilities, you have little control. With a home based business, things are different.Let us look at today’s economy. Millions have lost their corporate jobs due to downsizing. Millions more have lost their jobs due to lack of work. The economy trickles down and touches everything. Still, many with a home based business are entering the arena to fight for their share. Some have entered this new territory because of losing their corporate or manufacturing jobs, and they may very well say it was the best thing that ever happened to them. They are taking those skills that they were giving to their employer, and making money for themselves. Now they are enjoying the freedom and independence they are experiencing with their home based business. It was something they had wished for all along, but they thought they could not achieve it. They may tell you how bumpy the road was. They may tell you how overwhelmed they felt some days, but they will also tell you they would not want it any other way. They will tell you how they never miss their old commute, and how they enjoy the commute, in their slippers and pajamas, to the office of their home based business.The tables are turned, so to speak, when you own the business. Along with the added responsibilities, you will enjoy freedom and your ability to express your own ideas and creativity. If it were that hard to have a home based business, so many would not be doing it. They are doing it, though, and so can you. You can start small and work your way up. You can connect with someone else who has the same desire to work from home. It is doable to have your own home based business.Now that you can see the benefits, you might be wondering how to make it happen. There are many opportunities. If you are considering a home based business, you are in the right place.

Internet Home Based Business – Is it a Good Idea?

Are you thinking of starting an Internet home based business, and wondering if it is a good idea? Well, you are not alone because more and more people are of the same mind set.You should choose an Internet home business that you like. You need to be comfortable with what you have to do and if you are selling a product or service, you must feel that it is a good one, or no one is going to believe you enough to buy it.Are There Legitimate Businesses Out There?If you are interested in searching for an Internet home business, you are not alone. There are a huge number of individuals who have the same mind set as you. A large majority of people who search for an Internet home business do so because they are unemployed and have exhausted all means of finding another job. The other thing that you are probably thinking about is whether or not you are going to get scammed. Even though the Internet is a great place to make money, there are many people out there who want to do nothing more than take your money and run. For this reason, you need to make sure that you properly research each Internet based business opportunity that interests you.Owning your own business can be a great thing. In fact, there are millions of people around the world who own and operate successful businesses. Some choose to operate their company via an Internet home business, while others choose to operate an offline business company. Although both methods of running a business are effective in many ways, owning an Internet home business can be a lot easier to do.Are Internet Home Business Opportunities Legitimate?For your information, Internet home business opportunities are legitimate. They need to comply with all the requirements needed in authorizing operations and transactions or they would face legal problems in violating the rules imposed by state laws. There are unscrupulous network marketing companies that give this business a bad reputation. Simply do the proper research diligently and separate the good from the bad.Affiliate programs are considered the ultimate legitimate home business opportunity. Its concept is simple; send a customer to a company and get paid from the percentage of whatever amount that customer earns from sales.The question is, are there legitimate home business opportunities out there?It is a sad fact that most of the offers of great wealth and freedom are frauds. A recent government study found that an amazing 80 percent of Internet opportunities were scams.Is it possible to find a legitimate home business opportunity online?This question is on the minds of people who want a career using their computer at home. These opportunities are very helpful to those at home, either to watch children or those disabled, allowing them to make money without a 9 to 5 job.Do you remember what it was like in terms of fraud and dishonest businessmen, before the Internet came on the scene? Well, let me tell you, it was the same as it is now, except the Internet makes it more convenient and faster for scam artists to do their dirt. However, do not blame the Internet. Crime and dishonest people have always existed and will probably always be a part of society, but do not let that stop you from pursuing your dream and passion of owning your own Internet home based business. Over time, you will know how to spot the good opportunities from the bad intuitively and by using common sense.Is a home based business on the Internet a good idea? No, it is GREAT and popular idea.

Use Your Skills To Obtain Free Home Based Business Leads For Your MLM Business

Have you started a home based business and are looking for ways to make it more profitable? Well, who isn’t? And considering that you are a new player in this way of doing business means that you do not have the luxury to spend whatever you want for advertising. This takes you to the next step you should likely do and that is to generate free home based business leads which is essential in any business. A sales lead is defined as the identity of a human or entity potentially interested in purchasing a product or service. While you can buy leads, getting them free for your home based business can prove more profitable. Below are some techniques to have free leads.Blogging is one technique that can help you get started with getting free leads. This can assist you in establishing your credibility to the targeted market. While this is not the fastest way of doing it, using this method with other techniques can give you significant results. To be effective, you should start working on your education. Quality posts instead of giant ads can serve you well by attracting more readers.Social media sites can be helpful as well in getting free home based business leads. This is owing to the fact that it is one of the best ways to connect to a great number of people. There is a proper way of doing things which you should be educated on. Learn how to make these social sites work for you.Article Marketing is another common technique by which you can get free home based business leads. If you can research a bit on how to make use of keyword optimization, then you are bound to get as much exposure as you want. You have to know which words are most likely to grab the attention of readers. The quality of articles you write can substantially affect your generation of free leads. Be mindful, however, about directing readers to the intended destination.Video marketing is also a good technique as far as generating free leads is concerned. It is one of the best ways to promote your blog, your articles, your business and your abilities. Check for websites that welcome uploading of videos for free. Have the liberty to use them. Be creative as well to ensure that more people will be drawn to watching your videos.Most of the techniques involved in getting free home based business leads require skills in using the worldwide web. It is true that you do not require money in this aspect, but you need to realize that an investment of time and effort is required to learn the skills that will definitely push your way to achieving your business goals.

Take Advantage of That Home Based Business Opportunity

When a home based business opportunity knocks, you should listen. If you dream of having some independence, setting your own schedule, and running things on your own terms, then looking for a good home based business opportunity should be your next step. And when you find a home based business opportunity that interests you, don’t let it pass you by.Think about the things you like to do from hobbies, interests, and activities. To figure out which home based business opportunity will work best for you, it is important to start with the things you enjoy. After all, this will be your business and what you will be working on in your home. Why not have a little fun with it?Once you have figured out what types of things you like to do, then seek out the home based business opportunity that fits with your interest. Seek out a number of options so that you can narrow it down to the home based business opportunity that will work for you and your situation. If you have a general interest in something, you can try to find a home based business opportunity that focuses on one aspect of your interest.Finding a niche in your home based business opportunity is important, because you want your business to be unique. You will want to offer something that no one else does, as it will make your home based business opportunity more successful. For instance, say you love knitting, and you want to take advantage of a home based business opportunity where you knit. However, there are a multitude of things you can knit, so you can narrow it down to unique and flirty scarves. Rather than being too general, your home based business opportunity now fills a specific need for your clientele.Read the rest of the article here: Take Advantage of That Home Based Business Opportunity.Download the Free Work at Home Manual (Free $97 Value!) and receive valuable tips, strategies and techniques designed to grow a very successful Home Based Business.

Your Own Internet Home Based Business – Why In the World Would You Start?

This article could be subtitled: Five Questions Any Fool Should Ask Before Starting an Internet Home Based Business.

First of all, look at the risks. I mean, the statistics alone are enough to scare anyone away! 95% of new businesses fail within their first five years. What makes you think you’re any better than any of those poor souls? By taking the time to answer these questions, you’ll be ahead of the pack.

I’m not just any old fool, but I did start my own internet home based business and I’m happy to say, it is profitable. So I’d start with this question.

#1. Are you a self starter? That means…Can you kick start yourself? Nobody’s the boss of you. It’s up to you now. Get up, organize your time and get through all those details, get your project done. (Of course, if you’re a self-starter, and your coffee’s ready when you get up…that’s a good start, right?)
#2. Are you good at making decisions? My internet home based business requires my attention and I’ve got to make so many decisions. I’m constantly deciding which program to work with, what article to write, and where to have lunch with my best friend, and if I should ride my horse this morning or tomorrow afternoon. Sometimes I have to make these decisions under pressure and all by myself! That leads to the next question,
#3. Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business? This home based internet business ownership thing is challenging and a lot of work. When I started, I put in twelve hour days…six or seven days a week!…Ok, not everyone puts that kind of time in, but I did. (You should accept the fact, this business takes commitment, but the good news is, you can play whenever you want, remember?)
#4. Do you have a strong drive and motivation? Running a home based internet business can wear you down. You’ve got to motivate yourself to write articles, maintain your website, keep up with your blog, and when well done, watch the money roll in.
#5. Does your family know what you’re doing? This business takes time and can be hard on family life. In the beginning, we had to remind ourselves why we started this. My best advice is to make sure your spouse supports you. Set time aside for your family and do the things you love!
There are lots of reasons not to start your own internet home based business. It takes a special talent to be an entrepreneur. Not everyone has what it takes. Don’t be a fool, before you invest your time, energy, money and a piece of your heart, evaluate yourself.

Ask yourself, “Why in the world would I want to start an internet home based business?” It’s hard work and long hours. It takes time, effort and commitment. If you’re satisfied with your answer, then go find the right business opportunity, start planning and get going.

Small Business Idea for Bangladesh

Bangladesh is quickly growing as a small business center. There’s plenty of small and micro business opportunities. Setting up and running a business is full of challenges, but opportunities always welcome those who are ready to take challenges.

Below is a list of manageable business ideas.

1- Grocery Store with Delivery Service: Something that saves time of busy people has great business potential. Starting a small grocery store with delivery option can be a very good business.

2- Tea & Breakfast Corner: Tea being most popular drink everywhere in Bangladesh has a huge business potential in cities like Dhaka. With breakfast and snacks to supplement you can set up a small scale yet profitable business. You can be different from other uneducated tea seller by cleaner and better looking tea cups. Your tea stall should have a touch of creativity.

3- Fast Food Spot: Fast food is as popular in Dhaka as in any other city in Bangladesh. A small food cart with an initial investment of TK.10,000-Tk.25,000 can have a good scope in just any busy location.

4- Fresh Juice Kiosk: It’s one of the low cost business idea that can be established within TK. 5,000 – 7,000. However, success depends on the product you offer and you must have the business set up on right location.

5- Organic Food Production & Delivery: Since a large population in Dhaka is most concerned about their health, they love buying organic. If you own a small or large area for cultivation, or you can rent one, starting organic gardening is one of the profitable ideas. You can grow one on your roof-top.You can grow and deliver at doorstep for their best experience and your profits.

6- Small Bakery: Let it be a small town or a large metropolis, Bakery is bought everyday by people making it an evergreen business. You may find a lot of them already operating, however with a twist you can enter in the market and grab your share, by offering custom cakes, fast delivery, taking large orders, partnering with corporate for bulk orders and so on!

7- Home Cooked Food Delivered on Doorstep: Desiring for freshly cooked homemade food during lunchtime is common among working class and there’s a large population in Bangladesh that would love the idea!

8- Catering Business: Let it be a business, religious or personal event, they all need the best catering. Starting one will surely need investment, but it’s not that high!

9- Bed & Breakfast: If you are owner of a big property and have many extra rooms in your house then consider letting them out to the tourists. This will help you to earn quick cash for your unused space. This is more apt in case the property is located in cultural heritages lush landscapes, airport and places of tourist interests.

10- Everything Tk. 1-99 Gift Shop: Everyone loves to give and receive gifts but often budget constraints do not allow. With a budget gift shop you allow more people to enjoy the occasions and so you get more profits!

11- Tailoring: Though it’s more of ladies tailoring, a huge male population also wants the services. Starting such a business with a partner whereby one is specialist in ladies tailoring while other is best at men’s clothing can be profitable!

12- Photography & Videography: Showcase your photography skills with quick portfolio or do some voluntarily photography at various wedding and corporate events to get noticed.

13- Home Based Gym: If you’ve a spare room in your house and can invest in some machines, it’s one profitable business idea, however your training shall be class apart.

14- Tutoring: Let it be tutoring primary classes or college students, the potential is always there if you are good at explaining the concepts!

15- Mobile Phones/Gadgets Repair: A large section of people who do not buy new device or gadget till the time they have a working device in their hand would love this service Though there’re too many existing already, why not to promote your business online, get reviews and become an authentic repair company!

16. Website Business: You can start a web development business. All you need is a desktop or a laptop and a quite place to unleash your creativity. Of course, you need to attain the necessary skills to be a web developer. It can be a very profitable business without investing much.

17- Tech/Gadgets Shop: There is a big market for tech and gadgets at every place throughout the world and thus opening a business which sells tech products is a smart choices. Irrespective of the type of business, it will require PCs and its accessories.

18- Online Retailing: Buying products from a wholesale market and then selling the same online is good money making proposition. You can take use of ads to find new customers. You just need to brainstorm what people may be looking for.

19- Webpreneur: Becoming one in a city like Dhaka is none too difficult, because it has all the technology and infrastructure to let you explore the web and build up your own empire online. Let it be a local information website, city deals website or just anything that creates value for locals or for a broader community, bring it on!

20- Software Firm: Dhaka is the most fertile ground for software companies to grow. If you’re a good programmer and or have a couple of more experts with you, you can actually setup a fast growing software company in Bangladesh.

21- Small Scale Cloth Shop: People in Bangladesh do buy readymade clothes, but a huge population prefers buying the material to get it stitched according to their specifications. This is why the cloth shops are more popular than readymade garments. It can be quite profitable if you start small and target a specific economic group!

22- Readymade Garments: Well, this one will need a good investment to start, however, the profitability is in finding the cost effective supplier and cheap transportation.

23- Photo Copier: The service is much needed in the commercial hubs or else nearby educations institutes. And, all these places do have such services already, but still you can find some hotspots near public courts, government offices etc.

24- Computer Repairing Service: If you have knowledge and skill, you don’t just need any investment, but yes do spend a little amount on getting your business card and start meeting more and more people who can be your potential customers!

25- Digital Studio: Though smartphone cameras do a lot, people prefer professional photographers to shoot their events. Much of households and businesses require services of a digital studio, and so it can be highly profitable if you have the skill. However, you need an initial investment of at least Tk. 100,000 to set up the computer, UPS, photo quality printer and of course a good digital camera.

26- Online Trading Business: You can buy long life items from wholesale and sell them online, i.e. jewelry, cosmetics, accessories, cloth materials, T shirts and whatever else you can find from your research on local market!

How To Succeed At Online Product Creation The Easy Way

Product creation could be a frightening subject for a lot of Internet marketers to face. Some folks who get in the game with the intention of making a full time income are completely ignorant as to how an online business operates. One of the most profitable ways to create online cash is by creating a product that others are happy to pay for.

Product creation is legitimate method of generating money through internet marketing but many entrepreneurs get it wrong. They start by imitating their Internet marketing gurus by creating information products on Internet marketing in hopes of getting rich the way their heroes did. The problem is that they usually don’t know what they are doing and enter a highly competitive niche with very little marketing experience or connections.

Here are a few tips for effective product creation that may help you get on the right track:
Start by finding a profitable niche with low to moderate competition. If you conduct some rudimentary market research and keyword research, you’ll find many opportunities in areas that will surprise you. Amazon and eBay are two great places to brainstorm for product ideas.

Developing Your Product does not have to be a difficult project. You can find experts in the right field for your niche and pay them to write the material while an artist designs the packaging and website or blog. You can outsource the entire product creation part of the project after you conduct the research and testing to ensure profitability.

Sales and marketing strategies should be created while developing the product and learning about the market. Some experienced marketers use pay per click to drive traffic to their offer page; some folks outsource the entire marketing campaign to affiliates through ClickBank or other affiliate programs.

Product creation does not need to be hard, particularly when the merchandise is electronic. E-books, videos, audio and multi-media products sell very well. They are distributed immediately to customers electronically. Once you have a good feel for a niche market, try to service your customers with associated products and upgrades. If you want to earn money online through product creation, you must understand supply and demand. The majority of new online marketers fail miserably because they go after highly competitive markets or forget to research their chosen niche properly. You have to create your products according to the needs, wants and desires of the prospective customers.