FAFSA: A College Planning Essential
With National 529 Day coming up on May 29th, this month is a great time to start thinking about savings options for higher education. We have many clients who are actively saving with 529’s for their children, grandchildren, and others going to college. What is sometimes overlooked is the importance of completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). It has just been condensed based on the FAFSA® Simplification Act. Advisors Jill Carr and Jessie Stirling have put together a short presentation on the FAFSA®, including the impact of the FAFSA® Simplification Act, common mistakes to avoid while completing the application, and the importance of submitting one, even if you don’t think you will receive any money. Learn more watch our webinar. – Jill Carr/Jessie Stirling
New Cash Management Offerings
We are excited to share information about a new offering for excess cash which is available to Stephens Wealth Management Group clients. Through our partner, StoneCastle, we offer a competitive interest rate and significantly higher FDIC insurance coverage than is typically available for your excess cash. A few items to consider:
- A new account will need to be set up and the minimum initial deposit is $100,000
- Current yield is 4.26% for balances up to $1 million (the rate tiers down above this amount) and can fluctuate based on interest rates
- FDIC coverage up to $25 million
- There are no transaction limits and cash is available via wire or ACH within a few days
- No check writing is available
- You have online access to account information with one account, one statement (electronic only) and one Form 1099 (paper only) for yearly tax reporting
- You can select an impact option which utilizes community banks and seeks to benefit local communities (at a reduced interest rate)
- Stephens Wealth Management Group charges an administrative fee of 0.10% and your yield is net of fees
Please click email us for a brochure on StoneCastle. Contact us with questions or to establish an account. – Jason Guenther
Tips for Managing Your Home Remotely
Managing your home from afar has never been easier than it is today. There are several tools and services available that did not exist even ten years ago. We’ve listed some ideas for you to consider – and welcome your input on things you do to make a home from afar a little more manageable.
Safety and Access to Your Home:
- Use a smart video doorbell to track whatis happening at your remote home. Several of these doorbells will notify you when there is activity around your front door – and will capture the activity via camera for you to see. Through these devices, you are also able to speak to visitors.
- If you need to allow a friend, service provider, or someone else into your home while you are away, there are digital locks that can be set-up with a unique code for your visitor to enter your home, providing you peace of mind as to when they entered and when they left. No more giving away your garage entry code that can’t be easily changed from afar.
For more information, visit Google’s Smart Home offerings, ADT, Apple HomeKit, Amazon, SimpliSafe, Vivint Smart Home just to name a few. Also, please note that any of these smart solutions should operate off a secure home network when possible.
- Locate a housecleaner to spruce your home up the week before you return and once you leave again. Use a list of the chores to be performed each time a cleaning occurs and special chores that you want done quarterly or semi-annually. Ensure that your housecleaner has a back-up that he/she trusts and that is familiar with your home.
- If you live in a condominium complex where maintenance is generally performed for you, make sure you have a list of phone numbers and contacts saved and easy to access, especially if there is an emergency.
- Consider a personal property manager, even if you own your second home. Someone who can quarterback all your needs while you are away. They can do things such as:
- Perform weekly inspections of your home
- Prepare your home for storms
- Routine and preventative maintenance
- Yard work and pool maintenance
- Serve as concierge service to other professional contractors (i.e., plumbers, electricians, cleaners, etc.
Note, depending on the location and frequency of visits to your home, prices may range from $50-$100 a week and up.
- Strongly consider a generator that you can operate remotely through a mobile app. Not only will you receive status on when the generator is in operation, it can let you know when routine maintenance is needed and the outcome of “exercises” it will run routinely. One provider we are familiar with is Generac.
- Look into smart temperature and humidity tools / sensors if you want to be able to manage your home’s heating and cooling schedule, be notified if an issue occurs (i.e., home becomes very warm or cold, moisture increase that may be a sign of a leak, etc.).
Savings Tips for Gen Z
Whether you are in your 20’s or have a child or grandchild in their 20’s, this short webinar provides introductory tips on how and where to save and the process of building solid financial habits. Please feel free to share the video with anyone that you think would benefit. – Tyler Stephens
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