The federal government imposes a substantial tax on gifts of money or property above certain levels. Without such a tax someone with a sizable estate could give away a large portion of their property before death and escape death taxes altogether. For this reason, the gift tax acts more or less as a backstop to the estate tax. And yet, few people actually pay a gift tax during their lifetime. A gift program can substantially reduce overall transfer taxes; however, it requires good planning and a commitment to proceed with the gifts.
Budgeting is the systematic allocation of one's limited resources (income) to a potentially unlimited number of needs and wants (expenses.) Budgeting your income, though oftentimes tedious and difficult to maintain, can help you better control how your income is being spent.
One well-known fact of economic life is that a dollar received today is worth more than a dollar received a year from now.
Time and Money
The relationship between time and money provides the foundation for virtually every financial decision you will make. Whether you are saving money for a future event or considering a loan to pay for a current financial need, you will be greatly impacted by the time value of money.
Most qualified retirement plans offer significant tax benefits for those willing to follow a few IRS specified rules. The government wants to make these plans (401(k)s, Keoghs, SEPs and traditional IRAs) available for specific needs, and has established tax law to help eliminate potential abuses of these tax advantaged investment alternatives.
A revocable living trust provides financial protection in the event you are no longer able to manage your financial affairs yourself. You can be trustee while you are healthy, but if you have a stroke or become otherwise incapacitated, your successor trustee would manage your assets in the trust.
College should be considered a lifetime investment rather than just a four-year expense. It requires financial planning and personal sacrifices. The earlier you start saving and investing, the less money you will have to save and invest later.
Furthermore, the earlier you start saving, the less risk you'll have to take in your investment choices because long-term investing generally carries less risk.
There are many investment alternatives suitable for college savings. Here is a partial list of some such investments:
Credit cards were first introduced to the public just over 40 years ago, in 1959. With the introduction of credit cards, consumers were given new choices in how to pay for costly purchases that they had previously had to save for and pay in cash. Using credit cards allowed people to purchase goods without having sufficient funds immediately on hand, and without reaching new terms every time they wanted to purchase on credit.