Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Gold Wrapping Paper

Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family's only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.

As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.

Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, "This is for you, Daddy!"

As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.

But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. "Don't you know, young lady," he said harshly, "when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside the package!"

The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: "Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full."

The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God.

During this holiday season we hope you cherish all those who have given you their unconditional love.  Happy holidays from all of us here at Family Investment Center!

To read more inspiring short Christmas stories, click here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Superfunding a 529 College Savings Plan

According to a Reuters article shared by CNBC.com earlier this week "Should You Superfund Your 529 College Savings Plan?", college costs have reached an average of $40,917 a year for a private four-year college and $18,391 for a state school, as researched by the College Board.  These high numbers along with ever-increasing tax rates have affluent families and wealthy grandparents considering strategically "superfunding" a 529 college savings plan as a way to aggressively cover college costs while also saving on taxes.

If you are interested in finding out about the benefits of contributing to a 529 plan, click here to read the full article.

Monday, December 9, 2013

10 Tips for a Fresh Financial Start

By Suze Orman

With the start of a new year just around the corner, those with current financial burdens may be seeking advice on a fresh start.  Luckily we found a helpful article published by O Magazine and written by internationally acclaimed personal financial expert Suze Orman titled "10 Tips for a Fresh Financial Start".

Whether you are currently or soon-to-be in need of a financial clean slate, this article provides advice about how to get back on track.  Listed below are the 10 tips provided in the article, but you can click here if you would like to read the article in its entirety.

1. No blame, no shame
2. Take a snapshot of your finances
3. Adopt a fool-proof credit card strategy
4. Try harder to save
5. Separate savings from investments
6. Know your credit score
7. Evaluate your retirement plan
8. Diversify your assets
9. Don't obsess over your home's value
10. Protect your family and your nest egg

Click here if you would like to visit Suze Orman's website.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hidden Costs of the Holidays & Holiday Season Checklist

SmartAboutMoney (SAM) recently posted an enlightening article titled "Hidden Costs of the Holidays".  The article outlines expenses for non-gift items that consumers tend to forget about when planning their holiday shopping budget, and also provides readers with "SAM's Smart Tip" to help save a little more on these purchases.   Click here to read the full article.

Also, click here for SmartAboutMoney's Holiday Season Checklist, which can help you budget correctly for this year's shopping season.