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Tight-Wad Tuesday: Going to College

I told my oldest elf that her Uncle John was coming to visit over the holidays and that he was looking forward to playing with her and chasing her around.

She smiles and asks, “Can I body slam Uncle John?” Either she remembers the stories of her uncle John being a wrestler or I have played waaaay to rough with this child! I need to teach her better and get her, and her sister, into a good college!

Speaking of, I left off last Tuesday on telling how you can send your child to college for free! It involved a little investing in state sponsored 529 plans. This Tuesday I wanted to bring you up to speed on doing intelligent investing so your 529 can grow, even during a stagnant economy.

I said ‘intelligent’ as we are all intelligent here, right? If you are reading this dry info you must have an interest in it. Now I do not want to assume you know everything I am pointing out here (You probably do) so I want to start with some basics to understand that are really, really cool.

First are two key terms, Compounded Annual Growth and Dollar Cost Averaging and why these two are always phriendly phrases when investing.

Even in the worst economies Dollar Cost Averaging is always on your side. Simply, it is the idea of steady, constant investing. The Motley Fool describes it this way:  the discipline of regularly buying shares of stock. An investor using this long-term technique would invest a set amount every month, as opposed to saving it up and investing it in one lump sum.

The keys here are 1) set amounts of money and 2) every month. An example is say you invest $50 every month in a stock and that stock’s price is $25. So each month you buy 2 shares. Say the price of the stock drops all the way down to $12.50. Bad, right? No its good this time. Now that $50 buys you 4 shares of that stock that month. So, if you are a long-term investor (for college) you are accumulating more shares of stock this way to compound. Over time, these purchases average to a mid price of all purchases, bringing your purchase prices lower…over time.

The compounded annual growth is phriendly concept thats maybe a bit harder to grasp. But it is the reason we invest over a long period of time. Simply, if you have $500 to invest and it grows 10% the first year you will have $550 at the end of the year, or $50 in growth. Now imagine in a few years you invest regularly and your investment grows to $5000. Now the same 10% annual growth is $500 in growth. Lots bigger than the $50 year one! Like the batter bunny, it keeps growing and growing and growing….

That is why you should invest regularly and over the long-term (get started as early as possible) to save you’re your Einstein’s education in 529 plans. Get the most for your dependents….and get your entire yearly investment back each year; in the form of state tax credit! Going to college for free!

Just take the credit card…

Sorry! I really had nothing to offer today.  So I went surfing, ending up at one of my fav parent web sites, Ironic Mom, incorporating kid evolution with humor. There a subscriber said she regrets telling her child to pick out her own clothes.

Well, our girls don’t demand a new wardrobe every new year, YET.  So I feel lucky. They have been quite content with what they have already. They should be, as generous as friends and family have been with these two. So I just encourage them to pick out what they want each day. Amazingly my oldest has quite a fashion sense! Take a look:






Whaddya think? We do nothing but encourage them. Now, if I could just get them to comb their hair by them self instead of making daddy be the bad guy!

Do you send Christmas cards or Christmas emails? If you have evolved into Christmas emails here is a holiday trick for you (lets see if it works here). Do you like the image below? ‘Right click’ on it. Click on ‘save image as’ and then file the image in a folder where you can find it. When it comes time to send out your Christmas emails simply add the image as an ‘attachment’. The important part now is to be sure to click on the box that says, “show images in message body”

Now just add your favorite Christmas motto above or below the image and some family pictures and you have your own ‘unique’ Christmas email!

Now, if you will do me the favor of trying to act surprised when you get our Christmas email this year…. Have a great weekend!

Help Dylan Catch Some ‘Virtual’ Snow

Well if you are reading this I guess there are some things you should know about me  …besides my love for classic Christmas music.

Dylan wants to catch the virtual snow on her tongue

First, I am the WORLD’S worst Candyland player! Mommy and Dylan beat me 3 games in a row last night. And adding agony to defeat, I was ‘corrected’ by my 3 year old as I uttered, “Crap!”

Dylan immediately chimes in and says, “No daddy you must say ‘Oh my goodness’”. That girl!

Second, we all wonder how we will react in an emergency. See the pic of my 18 mth’er. Well You should see the other kid!

I wanted to say that. The truth is a chair at the Chic-fil-a got the better part of her yesterday as she ran out of the play area and slipped. Her head hit flush on a chair leg. Her eye swelled like it had a marble beneath it. And then it started bleeding at the crease. This girl has some lungs on her! Wow! It felt as though the emergency red lights should have been flashing with the intensity and volume of that wail.

I ran her up to the counter to get some ice on it. The counter employee wanted to know if I wanted some ice cream for her. (??~ Can I say WTF in a blog?) ) I tried to imagine applying the ice cream to her eye. Then I realized she was trying to get her to stop crying. Wasn’t gonna happen!

So, as the manager was walking up with an incident report to fill out, I searched for my 3 year, who was oblivious in the playland and then I darted for the door, seeking some emergency treatment for her eye.

I called mom to get some insurance info. Mommy calmly replies, “Oh that’s normal. She’ll be OK.”

I looked in the back seat, ignoring the busy holiday traffic ahead of me. Sure enough, she’s in her seat playing with a push-buttony toy, completely at ease. (!) Now, about that ice cream?

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