Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

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This week: Deciphering your company's 401(k), overcoming negative money mindsets, the myth of New Year's, resolving differences with your spouse, and the flexibility of college savings plans.

1. What Do You Need to Know About Your Company’s 401(k) Plan?

[Narrow Bridge Finance] “Have you ever taken a look at your 401(k) plan and thought to yourself, ‘These options are terrible. The historical rate of return is low and the fees seem higher than normal.’ Typically, those of us [who] say this just shrug our shoulders in defeat and sign up for the funds that look the best to us.”

This article covers a topic I’ve been pounding the table about for years: the high fees charged by some 401(k) plans and the negative effect those fees can have on your retirement. (See “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, What’s the Worst Fee of All?”) If you have a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, read this article, and ours.

2. How to Overcome Your Money Mindset Issues if You Grew Up Poor

[PT Money] “Everyone loves a great rags-to-riches story — but there is also a feeling among many of us that those stories are nothing but myths. You might think: Yes, it may be possible for anyone to become rich, powerful, and famous in America, but it’s certainly not going to happen to me or anyone I know.”

I know that feeling, and I firmly believe that many of us, myself included, can mentally hold ourselves back with thoughts like these.

What this author suggests to overcome a negative mindset is to work on developing the belief that life is within your control and that you have the ability to influence its outcome. To understand why, read this well-researched and well-written post.

3. The Myth of New Year’s

[Raptitude]  “As we are sometimes aware, nothing special actually happens when the clock hits midnight. It just goes on to the next moment — we don’t actually zip back to beginning of the calendar, to some point we’ve been before. Time is a long, twisting, one-way trail, not a short, familiar ski run with a chairlift at the bottom.”

This article gives voice to something we’ve all considered: that dates like birthdays and New Year’s Eve don’t deserve the weight they receive, at least as points in time when we’re supposed to evaluate our lives and magically change our behaviors.

Another quote: “But of course, it’s just another tomorrow. There are no clean slates. Past failures will still visit you in your head, from whatever year. Bad internal dialogues will still occur, and you’ll still have the same preconceptions about yourself and the kinds of outcomes you can expect.”

4. Differing Dreams United as One

[Rethinking the Dream] “Up to this point, my wife and I have always agreed on our next move. With this new house, we had to work through some major disagreements to reach a point of compromise. I have much more insight into what most couples are going through when one decides to downsize and the other does not agree. Honestly I am much more sympathetic to that situation than I was before.”

This blog is about decluttering and living a minimalist lifestyle, and this post is about what happens when one partner (the author) wants to downsize their living space while his wife wants to move in the opposite direction and buy a bigger house. It offers honest insight, not just into minimalism, but compromise.

5. 5 Creative Uses for a 529 Plan

[Wise Bread] “… 529 plans, or qualified tuition programs (QTPs), offer families a pathway to save for higher education expenses. In many ways they resemble retirement plans, offering significant tax benefits for savers. There are no federal taxes on your contributions’ earnings and often no state taxes if you’re a local resident and the plan’s beneficiary attends college in-state. But the benefits don’t end there. Check out these creative uses for your 529 plan.”

This article highlights the flexibility of college savings plans. While they must be used to fund an education, they can be used to fund more than one education, your own education and the education of future generations. If you’re considering one of these plans, check out this post, along with something I recently wrote, “Ask Stacy: What’s the Best Way to Save for My Kid’s College?

Who do you like?

We’re always on the hunt for talented personal finance writers and interesting sites and authors. If you’ve got a favorite, let us know below or on our Facebook page! You can also talk to us about anything you’d like simply by hitting “reply” to your daily email update. (Not subscribed? Fix that right now!)

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


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