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Conferences Contemplate Offering Childcare + How to Offer Your Child a Leg up in Life!

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If you’re a working parent, you may have been forced at times in your career to skip important conferences due to a lack of childcare. The good news is, the tides may be turning, though slowly. Conference organizers in various industries are starting to come around to the idea that they’re missing something if parents are unable to attend. The trend, according to Quartz, is most poignant in science, technology, engineering, and maths, likely because those fields are trying to come up with creative ways to increase female participation.

This is important because these conferences create an opportunity for its participants to connect with others in their field and ultimately helps them increase their value in the workplace. It also allows them to make more money, which will come in handy as they are looking to improve their children succeed. So if you are a parent who wants to help your child with college, what do you do? Although college isn’t something that they will attend until they become an adult, it is important that parents start to plan for this expense as early as possible. With childcare being almost as much as rent or a mortgage, it can be challenging to save money for anything these days, especially college expenses.

Fortunately, a 529 Plan can help parents save money for their child ’s future college experience. The 529 Plan is a tax-advantaged investment. It was created to encourage parents, grandparents, legal guardians, etc., to begin saving money for the future college educations of their children, grandchildren, are legal wards. It receives its name from Section 529 in the IRS Code, and it is offered by state agencies and state organizations.

Not all states offer the 529 Plan, but those who do individually decide how the plan is designed and what kind of investment options they will offer. Most plans allow investors to come from out of state. The advantages for in-state residents who apply for a 529 college savings plan within their state can include tax deductions, matching grant and scholarship opportunities, protection from creditors, and even exemption from financial aid debt.

The 529 Plan is offered in two different forms. There is a prepaid plan, sometimes also called a guaranteed savings plan, which allows you to purchase tuition ahead of time, based on the current calculations of what the tuition of a specific university is. It is then paid out when the beneficiary of the policy attends a college or university.

There are also savings plans, which are based around the market performance of an underlying investment. These investments are generally comprised of mutual funds. Forty-eight states, plus the District of Columbia, offer the 529 savings plan. Usually, savings plans become more conservative, the older the beneficiary gets. There are also options for risk-based investments, which allows underlying investments to remain in the same fund, no matter what the age of the ultimate recipient.

The 529 college savings plans are an excellent way for parents, grandparents, or legal guardians to ensure that their young loved ones will be able to afford to go to the very best colleges and receive the very best degrees. It allows children the opportunity to follow their dreams, like before they are capable of reaching them. They are ideal plans for adults who want to provide college funds for their children but are unsure or unable to go about it in the way the movies have always told them they should. The 529 plans are realistic and affordable investments, designed to ensure a child’s future successes.

So as you contemplate whether or not you will start your family, keep in mind of these expenses but also know that there are vehicles available to make the ride smoother (pun intended)

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

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Walmart’s Creates Weapon Against Amazon + How You Can Use the Same Weapon to Automate Your Finances

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Walmart unleashed its latest weapon in the fight against Amazon: the Alphabot. It’s an automated warehouse to help speed up its grocery pickup service. Analysts are calling it “the most promising technology to hit food retail in years.” This Alphabot will revolutionalize Walmart’s business, but how can we use bots for personal finance? Enter in Artificial Intelligence, aka AI!

In finance, AI has already been transforming the industry. Banks are already using AI in FinTech to automate many processes, help with fraud prevention, as well as thwarting potential hackers from stealing sensitive information. When it comes to you and me, AI can really help us manage our money better. The sad truth is that many of us are living paycheck-to-paycheck, so a new way to stop the cycle is dire to our financial health and well being.

AI is so advanced that it can use predictive technology to analyze how we spend money and give us advice based on our habits in order for us to live more fruitful. AI can also identify potential savings opportunities if used right. I know many of us get spooked every time our favorite shopping place follows us around the internet serving us ads, but this, in a way, is a form of AI. Based on your shopping data, advertisers and retailers know what you are looking for and how to get it to you. With the right app or program, there may be a way to serve you up only the items you need and at the best price. AI can also stop you from impulse shopping by advising you on your purchases based on the goals that you put in. The options are limitless.

While the thought of computers telling us what to do can be scary; understanding how AI can make our lives easier is important. I’m not ready to give up everything over to the bots, but some things I can wait to hand over. Only time will tell how this plays out, but just know that your financial struggles may be over soon thanks to AI.

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Ditching the Commute: 7 Fast-Growing Career Categories for Remote Jobs

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Going into work is not a popular thing to do anymore. Across the total U.S. workforce, remote work has grown 91% in the last 10 years, according to an analysis by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics (GWA). While remote work exists across most career fields, it is growing more quickly in some fields than in others. With that in mind, FlexJobs analyzed over 50 career categories in its database, comparing the number of remote jobs posted on January 1, 2019, to the number of remote jobs posted on December 1, 2019, to determine which seven remote career categories have grown at a high rate during 2019, indicating they will be promising fields for remote job seekers in 2020.

“There is far more variety and depth in the types of career fields that allow people to work from home than most people realize, but this list represents the fields that have experienced particularly high growth during 2019,” said Sara Sutton, founder, and CEO of FlexJobs. “While a number of factors contribute to growth, all of these fields are highly compatible with remote work, so it may be that companies are using remote work as a strategy to attract candidates in a tight job market,” Sutton concluded.

The seven categories below have seen remote work job listings grow more than 40% when comparing the number of jobs posted on January 1, 2019, to December 1, 2019. A “remote job” is defined as a professional-level job that allows the worker to work from home either entirely or part of the time. Remote jobs are also known as telecommuting jobs, virtual jobs, and work-from-home jobs.

These are in order from highest to lowest growth, with each category having grown more than 40%.

1. Art & Creative: Creative careers often allow its professionals an exceptional amount of flexibility in their jobs. These jobs usually involve coming up with original and innovative ideas, both for aesthetic and practical value. Some artists work freelance while others work as part of a company’s or educational staff. Some of the common remote job titles within this career are Art Director, Illustrator, Commercial Artist, Website Designer, Conceptual Designer, Interior Decorator, Textile Designer, Painter, Photographer, and Musician.

2. Bookkeeping: Remote work opportunities for bookkeepers come from a variety of industries such as nonprofit, sales, small business, art and creative, client services, and of course, accounting and finance. An aptitude for organized and detailed work, and math and computer skills are essential for bookkeepers. Common job titles associated with this remote career category include Accounting Clerk, Sales Manager, Bookkeeper, Operations Manager, Office Assistant, and Accountant.

3. Internet & Ecommerce: The Internet and Ecommerce have made it possible for thousands of professionals to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working from home. There are many jobs relating to the Internet that involve working with information technology, web development, and design, and social networking tools. This category also encompasses SEO, SEM, and social media jobs. Common remote job titles include Operations Manager, Search Marketing Specialist, Paid Media Manager, SEO Consultant, and Social Media Specialist.

4. K-12: Teachers and educators most often manage live classrooms in elementary, middle or high schools but in this information age, many are providing their teaching services online. There are many accredited virtual learning platforms such as elementary, middle and high school programs that are fully online now so that has opened up the door for more remote jobs for qualified teachers. There are also many parents who choose to home-school their children and receive support from K-12 teachers. Common remote job titles include Virtual Teacher, Tutor, Online Instructor, Curriculum Developer, and Speech Language Pathologist.

5. Graphic Design: Graphic designers produce visual solutions to the communications needs of their clients through a variety of creative skills and commercial awareness. They are creative people who have a flair for what is appealing to consumers, are aware of upcoming trends and can convert their ideas into visually pleasing images. There are many avenues for graphic designers to work virtually in marketing, technology, and commercial industries. Related remote job titles include Commercial Artist, Illustrator, Designer, Conceptual Professional, Art Director, Layout Manager, and Creative Director.

6. Translation: Translation careers are an exciting option in remote work. As business is becoming more global, the demand for professionals who can work as translators to bridge the communication gap between cultures and businesses is immense. This is especially important for companies that operate internationally or have operations in other countries where associates must live and work. Some of the job titles available for remote work in this category include Website Tester, Training Specialist, Language Tutor, Business Translator, Document Proofreader, Meeting Facilitator, Advertising Quality Rater, and Bilingual Writer.

7. Math & Economics: Math & Economics jobs exist in a number of industries, including education, accounting and finance, nonprofit organizations, government, banking, information technology, and publishing. Common remote job titles in this career field include Financial Services Representative, Operations Specialist, Mathematics Translator, Instructional Designer, Economist, and Statistician. 

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Credit Union Loans Getting Riskier + How-To Not Get Risky with Your Student Loans

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Credit unions have increasingly taken on high-risk loans, which could lead to borrowers or taxpayers getting burned in the event of another financial crisis, reports The Wall Street Journal. The member-owned alternatives to banks are designed to provide lower borrowing costs and higher deposit rates. Yet, credit unions’ assets have grown almost twice as fast as those of banks over the past ten years. High-risk loans from banks contributed significantly to the 2008 financial crisis. This is dangerous because unlike a traditional bank Credit Unions are owned by its members so it is the members who stand to lose the most. But how can you make your Credit Union loans less risky? This is the same question we ask when it’s time to pay off our student loans. Who will be the first? Or How can you pay off your loans faster? Here are six ways:

1. Develop a plan

Develop a plan to pay off your student loan debt before you graduate.

2. Save your money

Each summer throughout your college education, get a job or internship. Save half the money in a high-interest savings account. After a few months, consult a financial advisor to earn the highest possible return on your money. After college, you can use the money saved during all four years to pay down your college debt.

3. Consolidate your loans (But use caution)

Consolidating student loans combines your loans into one payment but may or may not provide you with a lower interest rate. Do extensive research before consolidating your student loans. In addition, you may not be eligible for various student loan forgiveness programs if you consolidate your student loans.

4. Exchange work to reduce debt

Perform volunteer work or work for the following in exchange for reducing student loan debt: teaching in certain locations with low-income students or areas with a shortage of teachers, providing legal and medical services in low-income areas or working for Americorps or the Peace Corps.

5. Get a work-study job

To help pay for the costs of college get a work-study job on campus to help defray the cost of college. Go to your campus employee office to ask about their work-study program. Work-study jobs pay at least the minimum wage for that state.

6. Apply for grants + scholarships

Apply for as many grants and scholarships as possible. Unlike loans, grants and scholarships never have to be paid back. Some grant websites are Zinch.com, Fastweb.com, ScholarshipPoints.com, Cappex.com, and Scholarships.com.

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