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The I.R.S. will begin accepting federal returns today. So in my neck of the hood, that means ratchet season will be in full swing in about the next 2 to 3 weeks. Everyone will be fresh to death! All the ladies will have weaves to rival any Housewife or Love and Hip-Hop star. The fellas will be at the club popping bottles and wearing the latest Gucci and Luis Vuitton accessories. Kids lucky enough to be born in the months of February – May, will have lavish, super sweet sixteen styled parties and let’s not forget the low self-esteem chicks who will all together forget about her kids, herself and their needs and give her whole refund to Marquis, the dude she met two months prior, in the club.
Yes, the glory of tax season or second Christmas, where we can get all the things we could not get the first go round is upon us, but this year let’s be a little more Michelle Obama instead of Ke-Ke from up the block in regards to how we utilize our refund this year. The average return ranges from $2,000-$4,000, with some returns as high as $8,000. For many of us this is the only lump we will receive all year, so it is important to make the most of it, especially for our children.
At tax time, we buy our children luxury items that will not have a great impact on their future, (i.e. Jordan’s, cell phones and gaming systems). There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying these trinkets, however we need to make sure our ducks are in a row first. Saving for college, having life insurance and an emergency savings fund, will help ensure our children’s future is secure. Here are some helpful ideas that you can implement to help you invest in your children:
Savings bonds were created by the government in 1941 to help with the war effort. Since then the U.S. had modified the program to meet the needs of our modern society.
Savings bonds are classified as EE or I Bonds. To learn the difference between EE Bonds and I Bonds click HERE I Bonds can be purchased directly from your tax refund using form 8888. Use this form to purchase paper bonds in increments of $25 or go Treasury Direct to set-up an online account and receive additional information.
I Bonds can be used to save money for retirement, education or emergency savings. The interest rate is currently %1.38. This may seem low; however interest is added monthly and compounded semi-annually. You must own the bond for at least 12 months before selling them to redeem their value. I Bonds bear interest for 30 years and you can redeem them penalty free after 5 years.
EARN is an organization dedicated to assisting low-income families achieve their goals. Their Triple Boost Account is one way they get this done! The Triple Boost Account allows you to save $500 over 2 years and they match it with 3 xs the amount ($1,500) for a total of $2,000. This money can be used to pay for summer school, a computer, tutoring, or college tuition for your children ages 10-18. Certain income guidelines apply, click HERE for more info.
529 Savings Plan are special accounts designated for your children’s education. They work much like 401k or IRA. You may also use a prepaid method to fund the account. This popular form of savings was implemented by our government in 1996 and has varies state plans which may be used for schools in other states. More detailed information may be found at Saving for College.
Don’t get me wrong the lure of having that cash in my bank account leaves me tempted to go on a shopping spree. In fact,I will shop a little after paying into my daughter’s Triple Boost Account and purchasing her $250 worth of I Bonds. I have learned to spend my dollars and cents after using some sense.
Photo Credits: deathandtaxesmag.com, i-am-bored.com, politic365.com