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VSAC announces improvements to 529 College Savings Program

first_imgThe Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) has renewed its agreement with TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) to manage the Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan (VHEIP) — Vermont’s official 529 college savings plan — and is offering several enhancements to benefit Vermont families.The number of VHEIP investment options has expanded from three to six to provide families a wider range of choices with varying strategies and degrees of risk. Investors may choose options that range from conservative to aggressive, selecting those that best fit their college savings objectives and investment philosophy.In addition, program management fees have been restructured to help account owners put more of their investments toward their college savings goals. Of particular note, fees have been reduced for the Managed Allocation Option, a popular choice for many families because the underlying investments automatically adjust as the student beneficiary ages.As of September 30, the investment lineup is as follows:· Managed Allocation Option — fees decrease from 80 to 53 basis points (50 basis points equals one-half of a percent)· Interest Income Option — continues as a zero-fee option· 100% Equity Option — fees remain at 80 basis points· Equity Index Option (new) — fees set at 53 basis points· Balanced Option (new) — fees set at 70 basis points· Fixed Income Option (new) — fees set at 78 basis pointsEffective November 30, two options will change:· The Interest Income Option will be renamed the Principal Plus Interest Option with a guaranteed principal investment strategy — continues as a zero-fee option· The 100% Equity Option will be renamed the Diversified Equity Option with an active management strategy — fees increase to 89 basis pointsIn addition to those changes, plans are under way to make managing a VHEIP account online much easier. Account owners will be able to view electronic quarterly and annual statements online, rebalance existing assets to new or existing investment options, and make withdrawals to the bank account on record.Vermont Higher EducationThe Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan launched in December 1999 and has grown to an asset value of $100 million in about 9,600 accounts. VHEIP is the only 529 plan for which Vermont taxpayers can claim a state income tax credit of up to $250 per taxpayer per beneficiary (up to $500 for married couples filing jointly) on contributions in each taxable year. Also, contributions and any earnings grow free from federal and Vermont income taxes; withdrawals remain tax-free as long as they are used for qualified expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, and fees at most colleges nationwide and some abroad.A VHEIP account can be opened for as little as $25 per investment option, and individuals can make periodic or regular contributions to the account with a minimum of $25 (or $15 per pay period by payroll deduction, if offered).The program Web site — www.vheip.org(link is external) — provides complete information and online enrollment. Information and applications can also be obtained by calling toll-free 1-800-637-5860. There are no income or residency restrictions on who can open an account.VSAC is a public, nonprofit corporation established by the Legislature in 1965 to help Vermonters plan and pay for education or training beyond high school. TFI, a national leader in managing 529 college savings plans, is part of the TIAA-CREF group of financial services companies, the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical, and cultural fields.***last_img read more

Hillary ignored mandatory IT security training – did your credit union?

first_img 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Talk about timely. As I was preparing to write an article on IT Security training, it was reported that Hillary Clinton ignored the mandatory IT and cyber-security training, as did many of her counterparts in the state department during her tenure as Secretary of State. This is in no way a political blog post on my part, but merely a segway into discussing IT security training in credit unions.  This recent report is only fueling the fire behind her email woes:Glaring shortcomings in cyber-security training throughout the State Department on former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s watch reflected a pervasive anti-security “culture” she encouraged there…Acting State Department Inspector General Harold W. Geisel issued six critical reports that charged top officials did not submit themselves to the department’s mandatory “security awareness training” during Clinton’s tenure…Senior officials from deputy assistant secretaries to chiefs of missions at U.S. embassies did not submit themselves to regular training sessions as required by the department and government-wide standards, according to Geisel… continue reading »last_img read more

Are your emails getting any ATTENTION?

first_imgAre you feeling the connection or are you wondering if anyone is out there on the other side of your emails? I get it. These days people are INNUNDATED with a gazillion emails. How do you get NOTICED? If you really want people to both PAY attention to your emails AND write you back, you might have to do some things differently. Here are five strategies to help you ensure your emails stand out from the gazillion: Make sure you have a FABULOUS headline! Capture their attention right from the start. And if you’re one of those “FYI…” headliners? STOP. That’s boring. And unimaginative. And certain to have people hitting a snooze button and moving along to the next message. Oh, and remember – we used to read our emails solely on our computer monitors – now we are reading them on our phones and tablets. Even MORE reason to get that subject line eye-catching!Use people’s names.  It’s a conversation for heaven’s sake! What gets people to pay attention quickly? When they see their name. It’s like a beacon! And if your email addresses multiple people, be sure to use everyone’s name throughout at some point. Teach your team to scan first for their name in group emails for efficiency. Keep it SHORT. Listen, I’m 4’10 ½” – I know a thing or two about short. My point is get to the point. If you’ve a habit of writing novellas for emails, chances are people are tuned out before they even read the subject line. Be direct, short, hit the bullet points and move on. Your team will appreciate it, and they’ll be more likely to respond. Ask a question or request an action. People really do mostly want to be accommodating. By asking a question or requesting an action, they don’t have to GUESS as to what you want done! It’s perfect! Questions keep things conversational. They beg for a give and take – so they are excellent for eliciting a response.Be FABULOUS. You are a real person speaking to real people – just in written form. Let your personality shine through. Be personable. Say hello. Say please and thank you. Let your words be conversationally connective just as they would be if you were sitting at the same table. Emails don’t have to be boring. And they SHOULDN’T be if what you want, need, (or even crave) is attention.  Play with different subject line ideas, use people’s names, keep it short (or shorter), ask a question – and be your fabulous self! THAT’S how you get some AH-MAZING attention for your next email.I’d love to hear from you about what’s working for you at your Credit Union to get and give more attention. Catch up with me on Facebook or Twitter and connect! 16SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Neen James Think force of nature. Boundless energy. Timely topics. Laugh out loud fun. Eye opening ideas. Take-aways that ACTUALLY create positive change.  Sound like what YOU’RE looking for? Then Motivational … Web: www.neenjames.com Detailslast_img read more