Is GeNeRal KnOwLedge ImporTant?

I would always say its important. Today i read some articles about financial. For me, the definition for financial is as simple as- money matters. Financial, financial planning is important. Last week, I met a friend who is studying in a local University college and she mentioned about she is facing financial problems in paying her college’s fee. This is always an high incidence of teenagers problems especially in those poor families. Why? Why is this always happen in Malaysia? For me, its simple, its all because of government policies. Malaysia government is famous in treating certain race better while unfair to other races. For example, M will always easy to go for Local Universities while C and Ind. will always face many problems when they apply for local Universities. Why? Why government can’t just divide those places in Universities fairly to three main Races in the countries according to the results of the cert. holders? Is this because of political issues that the biggest political party wanted to gain supports from the people( the biggest race)? To get more votes for general election although they lost a lot of votes in this 8/3/2008 general election ? Maybe this is the reason for certain people who is ‘playing’ with politic, but this sacrificed a lot of teenagers in Malaysia that studied hard and archived excellent result in exam. This caused a lot of problems too for example the geniuses in the country will go overseas to study and work there. This is a disadvantage for the country.* See how I love my own country*. This is a selfish attitude shown by Malaysia politicians. But the politicians will always use the sentence ” this is the country policy” to ‘push’ everything aside. So, since it is a country policy, i will always advice my friends or family members to change yourself rather than to wait the government to change for you. I don’t know how correct I am to say this but at least this will lead us to a better life. Since the government is not changing for the minor races in Malaysia, so we have to plan our own financial. or if we afford to go overseas to work or study, just do it! Why wait? No point waiting anymore. How to plan our financial especially for our children future to study in private colleges or oversea colleges when they fail to get a place in the local ones which many of “us” facing now? Coincidence, I read an article from US regarding to this issue. I would like to share it out here so that this can help some of the people in this world who facing the same problem:-

You have a lot of options when it comes to saving for college. In one sense, that’s a good thing, because you’ll have the opportunity to choose the option that best satisfies your own objectives.

But the wide variety of savings programs can make your decision process more confusing, even to the point of causing you to do nothing. Don’t let “analysis paralysis” derail your intention to save for college. The most important step is to begin saving, even if it’s with only a small amount.

It’s hard to beat 529 plans for tax-free college savings, a conclusion supported by the fact that Americans now have more than $100 billion stashed away in these investment vehicles.

You can use your own state’s 529 savings plan, which in your case is the Florida College Investment Plan. Or you can select among the dozens of plans offered by other states. Your choice of 529 savings plan will not restrict your child’s decision about where to attend college.

A 529 savings plan offers a menu of investment options. Typically, you invest through a portfolio of mutual funds.

For families without a lot of investment experience, I suggest going with the “age-based” option that automatically ratchets down the market risk of the portfolio as your child gets closer to college age. Most 529 plans offer at least one age-based option.

Being a Florida resident, you also have the Florida Prepaid College Plan available to you. This large and well-run 529 prepaid tuition plan has helped more than 1 million Florida families pay for college and offers the opportunity to lock in tuition costs (with an optional dormitory plan) at any of Florida’s public colleges and universities.

If your child ends up attending a private or out-of-state college, the plan will pay the same dollar amount you would have received at an in-state public institution.

In Florida’s highly regulated tuition system, rate increases have stayed relatively modest over the years. But that situation may change in the future if there is a shift in the state’s tuition-setting process.

There is also the Independent 529 Plan, a prepaid tuition plan operated by a consortium of more than 250 private colleges available to families in any state. It enables you to lock in future tuition at any of the participating colleges.

Beyond 529 plans, your primary college-savings options include Coverdell education savings accounts, or ESAs, U.S. savings bonds, and taxable mutual funds or banking products.

ESAs are sometimes recommended because, in spite of their low $2,000 per child annual contribution limit, withdrawals are tax-free for elementary and secondary school costs in addition to college costs. ESAs are also available from a wide variety of financial institutions, including banks, mutual funds and discount brokers.

However, federal laws will take away several of the advantages of Coverdell ESAs beginning in 2011, including the K-12 exclusion. Until Congress decides to fix that problem, I remain cautious about using them.

I am also reluctant to suggest taxable investments, such as mutual funds and bank certificates of deposit, as college savings vehicles. Why pay income tax on your college savings when an excellent tax-free alternative — a 529 plan — is so readily available?

Of course, the counterargument is that taxable investments can be used for any purpose without risk of penalty. By contrast, 529 withdrawals not used for college will be taxed as ordinary income and will incur a 10 percent federal penalty on the earnings portion.

However, with two children to educate — and the ability to easily and at any time shift 529 funds between siblings — you may view that risk as being fairly low.

You can also look to shelter a limited amount of taxable income by placing investments in your child’s name through the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, or UTMA. But the so-called “kiddie tax” can spoil that strategy if your child’s investment earnings exceed a specified amount ($1,800 in 2008).

Taxable investments in your child’s name will also significantly impact your child’s eligibility for federal financial aid, whereas 529 plans have little effect on financial aid under current rules. Perhaps most importantly, you are legally bound to turn over control of UTMA assets to your child when he or she reaches the age of 18 or 21, depending on your state’s laws.

Finally, ask yourself this question: Are you and your husband taking full advantage of employer matching in making contributions to your 401(k) plan?

If not, be sure to do that before committing those dollars to a college savings fund. Not only should you be thinking about your own retirement needs, but the employer match is a financial benefit that you will not easily make up in a 529 plan or any other investment. **end of article

After i read this, i felt that some of the informations here help but some are not really especially for certain countries, so lets go for the another one about financial planning, below are the 10 ways after i summarized the article:-

**1. Track spending and evaluate results. By tracking your spending habits, you’ll get an idea of where you spend your money. By evaluating the results, you can see if you’re using money for things that aren’t really necessary. For example, do your monthly membership fees go to a gym you never have time to visit? Do you buy coffee every morning when it’s available in your office for free? Look at all the places where you can save money; even small outlays can add up.

2. Pay yourself first. This idea is certainly not new, but it’s a strategy that starts a consistent savings program. Unless your entire paycheck is earmarked for monthly bills and necessities, you should be able to put money into savings every month. If you get a raise, add that money to what you’re putting aside.

3. Company savings plans. Many companies offer 401(k) plans. Take advantage of them. If one isn’t available, open an IRA. Use direct deposit for these retirement savings accounts so you’re not tempted to spend the money elsewhere.

4. Forget the plastic. Limit yourself to one or two credit cards with the best rates, and use them for only major purchases or emergencies. Also, pay off your credit card balances monthly.

5. Learn how to shop. The Internet provides a very easy way to compare prices. Look for lower prices, discounts, sales, and coupons. Check out price comparison Web sites, such as,, and Avoid paying surcharges, late fees, and other fees for convenience. Shop from lists rather than browsing the aisles, and establish a firm “no impulse buy” policy.

6. Look to save on your home. Look for lower mortgage rates and refinance. Also, while paying off your home mortgage each month, round up. You can pay off the loan a little faster, and save a surprisingly high amount of the interest over time.

7. Save on utilities. Review the offers from competing phone and electric companies. Look for energy-saving appliances, and save some money by opening windows when it’s warm, and using a second blanket when it’s cold.

8. Be car smart. Find a mechanic you can trust before paying big bucks for unnecessary repairs. Don’t buy a second or third car that will hardly be used or will sit at the train station. Look for lower gas prices in your neighborhood, and keep your engine tuned, trunk uncluttered, and tires properly inflated to save on gas.

9. Get everyone onboard. Discuss ways of saving money and establishing good spending habits with everyone in your household.

10. Read the fine print. Review your bills carefully, including your credit card statements. Errors in billing cost customers millions of dollars each year. Also, in this new age of warranties included with every major purchase, read the fine print carefully, and buy only what will be valuable for those products most likely to need service. **

The 10 ways above i found them useful. Lets start now to save ourselves in financial and lets do our part now to let the government to know that we are not stupid. We always can save ourselves even ‘you’ are unfair to us! But for the Politicians or the MOP, WE ARE TAX-PAYER TOO!







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