Cheat Sheet Q&A:


Today’s topic/question:

You've mentioned that there is a bank that offers accounts that are good for children because of the low minimum requirements and fees.  What types of accounts can be opened for kids? 


Bottom Line:  The good news is that most basic types of bank and investment accounts can be opened for children (minors) provided that you assist in the process through a “custodian” account process.  Among the accounts available to minors:


  • Savings
  • Checking
  • Brokerage (basic investment account)

Now not every bank offers the same types of accounts and products for minors so you may have to shop around to find the right types of accounts for your kids.  At a minimum you should look for:


  • Accounts with low minimums to open and maintain the accounts without fees


  • Accounts that don’t require active use without fees

I highly encourage ending the practice of feeding a piggy bank and starting an account or accounts with an actual bank.  It’s been proven many times over that the earlier children learn about money, the better the outcomes with finances will be later in life. 


You do want to be aware that if investment gains are over certain levels (generally $2000 per year), you could have to file and pay taxes on those gains.  Consult your tax professional for your personal situation. 


If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me:


Audio Report:


Tax season scorecard so far – how have you fared vs. the average tax filer?:


Bottom Line:  With just a little over a week left in the traditional tax filing season.  Where do we stand and how do you stand against your fellow Americans?  By the numbers:


  • 60% of Americans who need to file taxes have done so already


  • The average outcome is a tax refund of $2831 (up about 2% over last year)


  • The most common use of tax refunds is to pay down debt or save


  • The most commonly cited items to be purchased are home improvement related

By the way if you have to pay as you file your taxes this year I understand all too well that there are few things more annoying than hearing about tax refunds…  So you have my sympathies. 


Audio Report:



The best vacation deals in the country are taking place in our backyard right now:


Bottom Line:  Last week I shared the information from Kiplinger that the best vacation deals for spring and summer vacations are taking place in April this year.  On back of that story is this from Consumer Reports.  The best vacation deals in the US that are available right now are in Florida. 


Consumer Reports has indicated that many Florida based vacation packages are being offered for up to 60% off right now.  CR indicated that many Florida based resorts and destinations are anticipating the drop off in business once season ends and offering tremendous deals right now.  So if your spring or summer getaway means getting away within our state you should probably be looking at the opportunities right now to obtain the best value.


Audio Report:



Our biggest personal flaw is...  & why you should make your toughest decisions first:


Bottom Line:  I’ve pulled together various pieces of research for this story.  First…


  • Americans identified their biggest personal flaw to be self-control (or the lack thereof at times)


  • Career coach Sharon Salzburg sales that we should send potentially contentious emails to ourselves before to the individual


  • We make our best decisions early in the day and our worst late in the day

With all of these considerations in mind… 


  • We should make our most difficult decisions early in our work day  


  • If we are using email for documentation and/or difficult communication that should also be done early in your workday.  The practice of sending it to yourself will force you to view the email just as the person you’re sending it to would 

Audio Report:

Tax law change that impacts your ability to roll over retirement accounts:


Bottom Line:  A ruling last week by the US Tax Court has immediately changed your ability to roll over multiple retirement accounts.  In short the court ruled:


  • Only one retirement account per tax year can be rolled over without the others becoming taxable

That means that if you’ve accumulated multiple IRA’s and 401k’s and want to roll them into one financial product or account you no longer can without negating the point of a tax advantaged retirement account to begin with.  That means you need to be extremely strategic with your retirement accounts and roll them over the course of multiple years as needed.  Prior to last week’s ruling there was no limit on the number of retirement accounts one could role within a year. 


Audio Report: