Wisdom & Growth as a CFP
1. Think Before You Click!
A client of mine was wiring money to her son in Asia. She had used Western Union before and was pleased with the process. This time she put in a couple of calls to her son and then a call to the company. She could not find the closest location to her son. Nothing came up with the right street names although the designated locations seem appropriate to his needs. She was committed to getting the money to her son and she Googled some of the unusual street names provided on the site. They turned out to be in Africa several continents away. She called the company again and spoke to a manager to let them know the issue with the website. Within minutes they had a warning on their website that they were fixing the problem as someone had hacked into the site. Had she supplied her credit card and other financial information, some hacker on the other side of the world would have had access to her funds. This is not a statement on Western Union, which she had successfully used before, but rather a warning when using the Internet. The new shopping motto needs to go beyond â€œBuyer Beware.â€ Instead, we need â€œThink Clearly and Research before you Click Mindlessly.â€
2. Transfer on Death - the Department of Motor Vehicles
The DMV is a source of tension and ridicule in many states. Whether it is the time it takes or the process of renewals, licensing and registration. When it comes to estate planning, a car is an asset that many people have yet have not thought through how to pass on. Yes, it can happen by will. Or if not designated, by probate court â€“ a time consuming process that sometimes creates added expenses.
In the State of Vermont, a vehicle owner can also fill out a form called Transfer at Death. This form would list the current owner and then who would get the vehicle when the current owner dies. A simple one page form will make the transfer smoother. This form will not take the place of a will for your total estate but will take care of your current vehicle. Anytime you get a new car you would want to do this again. A simple form brought to you by the DMV. Find out if your state has one. Brought to you by the DMV: Something made easy.
3. Why Get Married? Or Better Yet, Consider Marriage Rights!
This is not a gender debate but rather the facts that apply to all. I am often asked what are the reasons. At which point, I can ramble off tax issues, estate planning and property rights. However, I learned this weekend that there are 1138 rights granted with a marriage license in this country. Here is a website if you are interested in learning more.
Rights & Responsibilities of Marriage
Marriage Rights Benefits
4. 529 Plans and International Colleges:
A client asked me this week if they could use their students 529 Plan to fund her college classes she was taking in Paris. Since the student was enrolled directly in the international school, rather than through a college in the United States, I had no idea. With a bit of research and more information, we discovered that as long as the student was going at least part-time and the school had an FASFA number the 529 plan could be used. The FASFA number is what is typically used for financial aid. The student does not have to had applied for financial aid, the number is used to determine the school is eligible for federal funds and therefore, 529 funds can apply.
FASFA numberâ€¦You can look up the international schools at the website www.savingforcollege.com