Over 85% of the nation's schools offer various types of scholarship, granting money to college students based on a host of criteria such as academic merit, financial need, and in some cases, racial or ethnic background.
Though the application process can be complicated and redundant between scholarships, there is a great deal of money available for those who are willing to jump through the right hoops and prove their merit and/or need.
If you have existing retirement assets in a traditional IRA, you may want to consider converting those assets to a Roth IRA. Possible benefits of converting include tax-free distributions at retirement, no required minimum distributions at age 70 ½, and leaving income tax-free assets to your heirs in the event of your death.
Social Security was originally introduced in 1935 in the aftermath of the Great Depression. It was intended to provide a safety net of income to retired and disabled workers and their families. Social Security is a mandatory plan, requiring most wage earners to contribute a percentage of their yearly income to support the program. In return, they, their spouses and sometimes their dependents are eligible for retirement, disability and survivorship benefits.
You may recall that during the final weeks of his life, former President Richard Nixon refused "heroic measures" and received only palliative (comfort-easing) care at his home. Similarly, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis refused life-prolonging medical intervention before her death from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Former President Nixon and Mrs. Onassis both retained control over their final medical care through use of a living will and a health care power of attorney.
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.
One of new products that came out of the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1996 is the Coverdell ESA. The Coverdell ESA offers the potential for tax-free growth when you use the account to fund a child's qualified higher education expenses.
When planning your retirement, it is important to remember that money, more than any other factor, will dictate most of your retirement decisions. Your level of financial preparedness for your retirement years will determine when you retire, what type of lifestyle you and your family will enjoy during retirement, and what might be left as a legacy to your heirs.
Even if you have not been able to save all the money you will need for college, several alternatives exist to assist you in making up the difference.
Financial aid comes in many shapes and sizes -- from scholarships and grants which do not need to be repaid, to federal loans which carry very favorable interest rates and terms. The following are a few of the most popular sources of financial assistance: