Millennials Struggling to Invest Wisely

Several recent studies have found that millennials are struggling to manage their investments. According to, 69% of individuals currently under age 30 haven’t started a retirement savings account. This is due to numerous reasons including unemployment, student-loans and recessions. However, Business Insider has pointed out that “You don’t have to choose between saving for retirement and paying down your debt.” If you start early and utilize the value of compound interest over time, your retirement is almost certain to be pleasant.

Greg McBride of the Wall Street Journal has another piece of advice for young professionals. For those who have already started a retirement account, he encourages an aggressive investment strategy. He argues that while safe investments can provide a sense of immediate security, they are often quite risky down the road. This is because they don’t provide a sufficient rate of return to grow a retirement nest egg. In … Read More

IRS Scrambling as Refunds Vanish

With digital crimes such as identity theft becoming more and more common, government agencies like the IRS are frantically trying to protect themselves and U.S. citizens. But it isn’t easy. Organized crime groups have begun to be more cooperative with one another, turning once small attacks into “epic wave[s] of fraud”, according to Alabama revenue commissioner Julie Magee.

Tax identity theft (which the IRS is battling) occurs when a person’s social security number (SSN) is compromised by thieves. When thieves steal an SSN, there are two common outcomes. First, they can use the number and attempt to file for a refund before the taxpayer. If successful, this means that the taxpayer will not receive a refund when he or she files since the system has already paid out the money owed. Second, a thief could apply for employment with the stolen SSN. If they obtain the job, it usually causes the … Read More

529 Plans: Invest for Anyone

529 plans allow people to save for college and the costs of higher education. In MN this is called the “Minnesota College Savings Plan”. This flexible plan allows any U.S. citizen over 18 years of age to open an account on behalf of a beneficiary.

There are numerous benefits that go along with the College Savings Plan. There are no federal or state tax deductions for contributions to the fund. However, all of the account earnings are considered “tax-free investment income”, meaning they are not subject to federal or state income tax.

Any distributions for qualifying higher education expenses (including tuition, books or supplies are also tax free. Room and board is also permitted as an education expense if the student is enrolled more than half-time. If a non-qualifying distribution is made, the earnings are taxable at the state income tax rate for your tax bracket. Furthermore, federal law assigns a … Read More