Start Saving Early with College Savings, And Use Index Funds to Save Mommy & Daddy Time

People always say it’s never too early to start saving for college. That has never been truer.
Not only has student debt in the United States climbed to a record $1.4 trillion, but college prices continue to soar way faster than inflation and wage growth. From January 2006 to July 2016, the Consumer Price Index for college tuition and fees increased 63 percent, with consumer prices for college textbooks jumping 88 percent and housing at school (excluding board) rising 51 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, inflation has hovered mostly below 3 percent in the past decade while wage growth averaged only 6.29 percent growth from 1960 to 2017.
All of this means parents ought to start saving for college as early as possible, maybe even before their kids are born. The earlier they start, the more time their money has to grow and take advantage of the power of compounding.
Compounding happens when you reinvest your returns and those returns earn more returns and so on. Because investments can increase in value over time – and the longer the time, the greater the value – it’s important to start early to maximize the benefits of compounding.
For example, you begin investing $200 per month at the age of 25 in a tax-deferred retirement plan earning 9 percent, and your friend starts investing in the same plan at 45, but invests $400 per month. At age 65, you will both have invested a total of $96,000, but your investment would have grown to $884,000, while your friend’s investment would be worth only $268,000. This is because of your 20 extra years of compounding.
However, even with compounding interest on a savings account, savings accounts aren’t likely to keep pace fast enough with skyrocketing college costs. Instead, families should look to stocks for a better return. On average, the S&P 500 index returns 7 percent per year, adjusted for inflation, over the long-term. That compares to an annual percentage yield of 1 percent or less over the past decade for savings accounts.
The S&P 500 index is a basket of stocks aiming to reflect the overall return characteristics of the general stock market. Stocks in the S&P 500 index are chosen based on market capitalization, industry and liquidity.
But parents, already busy with work and kids, probably don’t have a lot of time to research and pick stocks for their educational savings portfolio. And even if they did, studies have shown it’s extremely difficult to choose a portfolio of stocks that consistently beats the S&P 500 index. Even if you hand your money to a professional money manager, most of them would also fail at this.
In the five years ending in 2015, 84 percent of large-cap funds generated a return less than the S&P 500. In the 10-year period ending in 2015, 82 percent of large-cap funds failed to beat the index. S&P Dow Jones’ 15th annual scorecard showed that over 15 years, 92 percent of large-cap, 95 percent of mid-cap and 93 percent of small-cap fund managers underperformed their benchmark. 
Fortunately, there’s an easier way. It’s called low-cost index funds. An index fund is a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) constructed to match or track a specific market index, such as the S&P 500 index. These are passively managed funds, as opposed to actively managed by a fund manager who buys and sell stocks based on research. Index fund costs, expressed as expense ratios, are much lower than in actively managed funds because they don’t require a research team or as many commission fees from moving into and out of stocks.
“When trillions of dollars are managed by Wall Street-ers charging high fees, it will usually be the managers who reap outsized profits, not the clients,” said Warren Buffett, legendary investor and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, in his most recent annual report to stockholders. “Both large and small investors should stick with low-cost index funds.”
Since there are so many types of market indexes out there, families don’t have to worry about diversity in their portfolio. If you believe technology outperform retail stocks, there are plenty of technology funds from which to choose and different ways you can allocate money to ensure broad diversification. You can even go more granular and choose a technology fund focused on a certain area within technology, e.g. software, Internet or semiconductors.
You also can set your account to reinvest any distributions automatically to take advantage of compounding and link your bank account to deposit money into the fund each month.
Investment possibilities are endless, and probably easier than you thought.

Guest Post written by Monica Taylor, Guest Author and soon to be blogger.

Water Wubble Helps Keep You Cool this Summer

What looks like a bubble, but makes a big splash? Introducing new patent-pending Water Wubble – the world’s only refillable, self-sealing water balloon ball!

Water Wubble is just like a water balloon but it doesn’t pop, and so much easier to use. Fill it up anywhere at the pool, the faucet, with a water bottle. The water bubble seals itself, no worrying about tying or fingers getting stuck.

The Water Wubble package comes with 8 balls 4 blue and 4 red so you can have a battle among friends. It’s the best way to play on a hot day.

We got to try out the new Water Wubble and invited the neighbors to join in on the fun.
The Water Wubble balls were so easy to fill up it was just seconds and the kids were having a blast splashing each other.

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The kids were so excited to try these and were shocked by how big they actually expand and water can fill in. They expand so much that they could fit their little hands in the Water Wubble. Making playtime extra fun for them. Whipping them around and splashing.
Unfortunately for us playtime got a little to rough and 2 of our Water Wubbles ripped at the bottom, but it was from tough play.

As a parent my favorite thing about the Water Wubble besides it last a long time, is there is no mess. No tiny Balloon pieces to find and pick up.

You can find Water Wubble at retailers nationwide or on their website and retails for $14.99 plus shipping and handling.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post on behalf of element associates and Wubble, All opinions are 100% my own.

Peeps are filling easter Baskets this weekend

Easter is only a couple days away and what is the one candy every Easter Basket needs? Peeps®! Peeps® are everyones favorite Marshmallow treat. They started out as chicks and birds around Easter time and have no expanded and feature minions, Dinosaurs and so much more. There are tons of different varieties too like Chocolate Mousse, Gingerbread, Birthday cake, Banana Creme and so much more. Peeps and Company® also features and sells Hot Tamales, Mike and Ike, and Peanut Chews.

This year Peeps®has come out with tons of different flavors to put in your childs basket. They have fruit punch peeps, chocolate covered peeps, orange creme, birthday cake and so much more.

You could literally fill your entire Easter Basket:

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Peeps® are always fun to have on holidays. For Easter not Only do Peeps® represent the Holidays fun spirit with candy in shapes of Bunnies, chicks, eggs and more.
Want more than candy? Peeps® has a assortment of gifts as well like stuff animals, earphones, clothing and more.

My kids look forward to getting these every year. They just love the various flavors and shapes they come in. They call it marshmallow sugary goodness.

You can find Peeps® at all local retailers and on their website.

Disclosure: No formal compensation was received for this post. Product was provided for review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Hollywood Darlings Premieres Tomorrow

Pop’s newest original comedy series Hollywood darlings star ring 90s fan favorites Jodie Sweetin (Full(er) House), Beverley Mitchell (7th Heaven) and Christine Lakin (Step by Step) premieres on April 12, 8pm ET/PT. The comedy series focuses on their unique childhood actor sisterhood that has bonded them as real life friends. They play exaggerated versions of themselves as they navigate motherhood, careers and life in LA.

Hollywood darlings turns the camera on real-life friends who are bonded by a sisterhood that only they can share as former child stars who grew up in the 90’s limelight – Jodie Sweetin (“Full House,” “Fuller House”), Christine Lakin (“Step By Step”) and Beverley Mitchell (“7th Heaven”). In this improvised comedy, the three actresses play exaggerated versions of themselves in their current Hollywood lives. With the support of one another, this girl squad can take on anything when it comes to parenting, marriage, friendship and revived careers in Hollywood.

Hollywood Darlings will feature cameos from Soleil Moon Frye (“Punky Brewster”), Andrew Keegan (“10 Things I Hate About You”), Tamera Mowry (“Sister, Sister”), Lance Bass(NSYNC), Andrea Barber (“Full House”), Nicholle Tom (“The Nanny”), Heather Tom (“Y&R”),Patrick Duffy (“Dallas,” “Step By Step”), Staci Keanan (“Step By Step”) and Wanya Morris(Boyz II Men).

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This show is to be exciting and fun as it brings all your favorite 90’s actresses back. I loved Full House, Step By Step and 7th Heaven growing up.

On a recent conference call with the actresses they answered some questions for us about the show.

My summary:

The show is based on your life now, but do you bring anything different to make the show more entertaining.

Jody: Im definitely more dark and cynical in the show then real life
Christine:Im a Hippie Dippy in real life, a free spirit and we exaggerate that on the show a little.
Beverly: I am the Type A ever organized person on the show and I would like to think i am not like that in real life.

I heard this show is unscripted: Not a reality show is this true?

Christine: Yeah, this is what we call an improvised comedy and you know, it’s a little tough to explain because there haven’t been many of them done. Um, you know, this show came about when Jodie, myself and Beverly were all approached by our executive producer Jimmy Foxx uh, who wanted to put together sort of like, a 90’s dream-team of women he grew up with on TV who you know, felt like he maybe had a crush on.

Will you be sharing your children on this show at all?

Beverly: The show is centered around us and we are mothers but no our children do not appear in the show.
Jodie:The content of the show is humorous, inappropriate jokes, cursing and we are mothers but wanted to separate our children from that.

This show is bound to be a show all moms can relate to and hilarious at that. Be sure to tune in tomorrow April 12, 8pm/7C to catch it, and every wednesday for the series on Pop TV.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post on behalf of the Role Mommy’s Writers Network. All opinions are 100% my own.

Biz Stain Fighter Helps Fight the toughest

I have been chosen to be a Biz Stain Fighter ambassador again for the 2017 year. I am excited to tell u all about their products and what they have to offer.

Biz was the first enzyme based pre-soak and color-safe bleach that Moms have trusted to remove stains from the family’s laundry, for more than 40 years. Different types of stains need different ingredients to clean them. Science shows that there is no one single ingredient that cleans everything well. So why doesn’t every brand put all of these ingredients in? Probably because it costs more to do that. But BIZ didn’t cut corners here… BIZ has more stainfighters than other brands. That’s why it works better.

As a mom of three I am doing laundry daily not to mention soaking and treating daily stains my kids come home with. It’s a constant daily struggle with stains in my house, so I use Biz Stain Fighter with every wash.

Biz Stain Fighter

The toughest stain in my house right now is pasta sauces.My kids love pasta and always seem to be wearing light colored clothing when they eat it. Making a big mess and staining their clothes. Usually I will have to put some biz with hot water in a bowl and let it sit over night then wash with more biz but gets the job done.

Biz is great for other uses to like it will treat stains set into your carpet or upholstery. So its great to have on hand for any occasion.

Have you used Biz Stain fighter?

You can find Biz products at these locations.

Disclosure: I am a 2017 Biz Ambassador, and will be receiving compensation as well as products for my contribution. All Opinions are 100% my own.

Micro Cotton Elite Bath Towels Keep you Cozy

Everyone loves a hot bath or shower, unfortunately most of my towels are small and don’t wrap around properly or are super thin. I like to be able to relax and just lay around in a towel for a while. So having a super plush towel is a must.

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I was send the Noble Elite Micro Cotton Elite Bath Towel set to try out. This brand new product line features ultra-absorbent and plush wash cloths, hand towels, bath towels and bath sheets. Supremely soft, amazingly absorbent and luxuriously lofty, the Noble Excellence Micro Cotton Elite Towel Collection is constructed using Micro Cotton’s decades of experience.

These towels are so soft I fall asleep whenever I lay down with one after a bath. Plus they are super long and comfortable. I love that you can get a entire matching set in one. Body towel,bath towel, hand towel and rag all in one set.

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I’m 5’2″ and the body towel goes covers goes down to my feet when wrapped around.

The sizes are incredible:
Body towel approx: 39X72
bath towel approx: 30X56
hand towel approx: 20X30
wash cloth approx: 13X13

The Micro Cotton elite towels soak up 50% more absorbency then regular towels, So you dry off quick.

This bath set is available exclusively at Dillards for $77 a set or pick individual pieces.

Disclosure: No formal compensation was received for this post. Products were provided review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Go For Hours This Valentines Day with MyCharge

Everyone will be out and about celebrating Valentines Day, but no one wants to be out and have their phone completely die on them. You don’t want to lose the chance to take those extra special pictures or check in on the kids. Thats why a portable charger like the MyCharge is the perfect gift for Valentines Day.

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The newly redesigned myCharge HubPlus 6700mAh portable charger is the quintessential powerbank. With an integrated Apple® Lightning™ cable and an integrated micro-USB cable and the newly added USB port, staying charged on the go has never been easier. Carrying cables is a thing of the past, not only are the cables built in for effortless charging but wall prongs are built-in for effortless recharging. Boasting a 30% reduction in size, the HubPlus is more compact and portable than ever before.

I went to San Fransisco this past weekend and am constantly taking pictures or getting calls, my phone went dead fast. The MyCharge HubPlus was a life saver and kept me charged throughout the day. It’s compact and easy to carry, was able to just slip in my back pocket when not in use.
I love that it comes with 2 different charging cables for phones. One that fits my apple phones and tablets and one that can fit my kids Tracfones.

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You can get the MyCharge HubPlus for $79.99 and save 20% off your order using code XOXO

Disclosure: No formal compensation was received, a product was provided for review all opinion are 100% my own.

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