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Student Loan Relief Extended Once Again

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government put student loan repayments on ‘pause’ since last year. Borrowers with federal student loan debt have been allowed to skip payments, so they can use their financial resources to pay for necessities like rent, food, child care, or other bills. The White House just announced that those […]

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15 May 2013 --- Mother watching young son use digital tablet. --- Image by © Hero Images/Corbis

How to Make the Most of the New Child Tax Credits

What is the best way for parents to make the most of the extra $250 to $300 a month? Across the state, Florida families have started receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments that took effect last month as part of the federal government’s pandemic relief. According to the IRS, 90% of American families with children […]

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Leaving The Nest: When Students Head Back to College After COVID

Summary This fall, leaving the nest takes on new meaning as many college students who’ve been home during the pandemic are preparing to head to their college campus, eager to start their adult life. Here are some tips for you and your college student as you both prepare for the post-COVID return. Back to school […]

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Mari Talks to CNBC About Why 529 Plans Are a Great Way to Transfer Wealth

Mari spoke with CNBC last week about why 529 plans can be a great way to transfer wealth to younger generations. You may already be familiar with 529 plans as the best way for most American families to save for college. But 529s also have incredible tax advantages that make them ideal for passing on […]

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Ask Mari: Can I Use My Florida Prepaid College Benefits For Grad School?

I spoke with a happy parent the other day who is preparing to send her high school grad off to college. The good news? Her daughter got into a top-notch private college. The bad news? The bill – even after a sizable scholarship grant – is hefty. Thank goodness that the student’s parents are well […]

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Celebrating National 529 Day on May 29!

Congratulations! It’s National 529 Day on May 29 (Get it? 5/29?). There’s reason to celebrate if you’re one of the smart parents or grandparents who have opened 529 college savings accounts for your favorite student. There are over 15 million accounts out there, and 529 savings accounts are definitely the most effective way to save […]

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Mari Speaks On College Planning At Financial Planning Conference

Thank you again to the Financial Planning Association of Central Florida for the invitation to talk about “College Planning After COVID” at the group’s 31st Annual Symposium in Orlando last week! It was great to network with fellow financial planners, and participate in the outstanding educational sessions on residential real estate, Medicare, investments and other […]

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Florida Prepaid College Plan Now Open For Enrollment

If you’re looking for an affordable way to lock in college costs for your kids or grandkids, without ever having to worry about the ups and downs of the market, take a good look at the Florida Prepaid College Plan. It’s open for new enrollment with prices guaranteed through April 30. Plan sponsors advertise the Florida 529 Prepaid Plan as the […]

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Top 5 Questions Parents Ask About Using Their College 529 Plans

Setting up 529 college savings plans for your children or grandchildren is a smart move that can potentially save you thousands of dollars in taxes and soothe some of the anxiety about how to pay for college. In almost three decades as a practicing CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, I’ve helped many parents establish 529 plans for their children. […]

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2020-12 USNews Kim Lankford Gifts

8 Great Financial Gifts For Kids

Thinking of a gift with lasting impact and value? Check out this article in U.S. News & World Report on 8 great financial gifts for kids, with tips from my talented Mercer Advisors colleagues Jennifer Baick, located in our Bellevue, Washington office, and Laura Cuber, based in Schaumberg, Illinois. These gifts can help your kids, […]

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