Club sports can take a club to your checkbook

This is the time of year when many club teams hold tryouts for the coming summer and fall leagues. If this is your first club sport experience, keep this in mind: It’s expensive. But there are ways to control the money flow.

Young investors can learn from Warren Buffett

The Omaha financial guru’s annual shareholders letter is always one of the most anticipated reads by investment pros and financial pundits because of the insights it offers into Buffett’s stock picking strategies. But it’s also full of straightforward, sometimes folksy advice that would strike a chord with younger investors who are just learning the ways of Wall Street.

Tax traps abound for college savings accounts

The state-sponsored plans known as 529s, such as Learning Quest in Kansas and Most in Missouri, have been a popular choice for funding college education since Congress approved them in 1996. But timing and tax planning issues can complicate the plans’ savings equation.

Life Skills 101 gets a high grade

In Michael Hagerty’s class, the curriculum revolves around money management and career planning, and the classroom conversations stress concepts such as compound interest, paying yourself first and being wary of too-good-to-be-true deals.

Be careful with zero percent interest plans

Deferred interest plans can save you a lot of money as long as you pay off your balance in the allotted time and don’t make any late payments. But if you’re a few days late or fail to pay off the balance in full by the end of the deferred interest period, well, it’s as if the zero percent terms never were offered.

Sizing up year-end car deals

The last few weeks of the year can be a great time to purchase a vehicle. Salespeople and dealers are trying to meet their quotas and profits for the year, the lots are still full of 2013 models that need to be cleared and there might even be a year-end boost in the number of used vehicles for sale.

Financial gifts for the holidays

If you’re interested in shaping money-smart children so they will grow into money-smart adults, there are many gifts that can help generate the desired effect. Some are even designed to make financial education fun.

Buying savings bonds in the digital world isn’t so easy

The holiday season is a peak period for parents and grandparents to purchase bonds as gifts for children. But if it’s been a while since your last bond gift, be prepared to spend some time going through the purchasing process on the Treasury Department’s website at

Get rid of costly overdraft protection fees

Bank of America, the nation’s second-largest bank, may soon be pulling the plug on that practice. And that would be a good thing — a little embarrassment at the cash register can be just the motivation needed for young account holders to learn to live within their means.

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