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You Can Meet the Spiraling Cost of College

Higher education opens doors for a young person, but these advantages come at a price: Today, tuition and fees at a four-year private college can run over $40,000 per year. With advance planning, your family can manage these costs. You'll need to research investment vehicles designated for college savers as well as potential sources of financial aid. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Take advantage of tax-free investment opportunities. Section 529 college savings plans were designed specifically to fund higher education. Contributions grow tax free, and withdrawals are tax free when used to fund qualified education expenses. There is no annual contribution limit, although contributions in excess of $14,000 a year ($28,000 when done jointly with a spouse) are likely to trigger the federal gift tax.

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Fulfilling Your Philanthropic Vision With the Appropriate Giving Vehicle

Andrew Carnegie, perhaps the most celebrated American philanthropist, was credited with having said, "The man who dies rich, dies disgraced." Indeed, Carnegie lived by these words, amassing an enormous fortune and then giving away more than $350 million. Through his supreme acts of charity, Carnegie set the standard for generations of philanthropists.

Today's philanthropists are as diverse and unique as the causes they support. Family groups may work together to channel their charitable goals and build a philanthropic legacy that can be passed down through the years. Entrepreneurs may approach philanthropy with the same drive and commitment they apply to building their businesses. Other generous souls may simply adhere to "checkbook philanthropy," informally supporting various causes with direct cash donations.

Whatever their charitable aspirations, when selecting giving vehicles, donors of significant wealth must evaluate a number of factors, such as their need for current income, the desired level of involvement for the donor and other family members currently and in future generations, as well as important tax considerations.

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Avoid These Five Common Investment Mistakes When Planning for Retirement

Only about 14% of American workers say they are "very confident" they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement. To help reduce such uncertainty from your life, consider these five common investment pitfalls -- and how to avoid them.

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Teach Your Children to Save for College

Being part of the college planning process can be very educational for children, as it presents them with valuable financial lessons for the future. Children can earn money, learn about sources of financial aid, research potential colleges, and take other steps that may relieve their parents of some of the responsibility of college planning.

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Retirement Savings Tips for Those 50+

If you find yourself with an empty nest and a well-paying job, it may be tempting to indulge in a few splurges that were not possible when college tuition or mortgage payments were due. But before throwing caution to the wind financially, remember that you could be passing up your last opportunity to make significant headway in investing for retirement. Here are three steps to prepare financially.

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Financial Preparedness for Hurricane Season

Not only is September the peak of hurricane season, it is also National Preparedness Month. National Preparedness Month is sponsored by the Ready Campaign of FEMA and held each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for potential emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities. The Ready Campaign asks individuals to do three key things to prepare for the unexpected: 1) get an emergency supply kit, 2) make a family emergency plan, and 3) be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses. Something else to consider is your financial readiness in case of an emergency.

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The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the author and may not reflect those of The Washington Trust Company. The information in this report has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. Any opinions expressed herein are subject to change at any time without notice. Any person relying upon this information shall be solely responsible for the consequences of such reliance. Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results.

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