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5 most devastating hurricanes in the U.S.

CNN - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 9:05am
What you need to know about the five most devastating hurricanes in the United States.
Categories: National News

Muslim woman denied soda can 'weapon' on flight

CNN - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 9:03am
A simple request for an unopened can of Diet Coke left Tahera Ahmad in tears.
Categories: National News

20 weird and wonderful destination slogans

CNN World - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 9:01am
Can a slogan really sell a place? Sometimes. Sometimes... not so much.
Categories: International News

Is this what London will look like in 100 years?

CNN World - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 9:01am
From spaceports and high-rise farms to floating cities and epic bridges, engineering experts predict how we will live in 100 years.
Categories: International News

The homeowners who refuse to budge

CNN World - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 8:46am
Categories: International News

Surfer paints stunning waterfront murals

CNN World - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 8:46am
From his floating studio, a paddle board, Sean Yoro creates stunning portraits of women, whose lifelike features barely escape the waterline.
Categories: International News

529 College Savings Plans Can Help Ease Your Top Financial Concern

Lifestyles - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 8:26am
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - People who worry about financing a college education for children or grandchildren have got plenty of company. More than 70 percent of parents with children under 18 say that paying for college is their top financial concern, according to Gallup's 2001-2015 Economic and Personal Finance survey.

Young adults are worried too. Asked by Gallup to identify the top financial problem facing their families, more than one in five respondents aged 18 to 29 said it was paying tuition or college loans.

Fortunately, there's a way to put money aside for education in an investment account where the savings can grow over the years, free from federal income taxes. What's more, the student doesn't have to pay federal income taxes on withdrawals from the account, as long as the money is used for qualified higher education expenses, which include tuition, books, fees, supplies and other approved expenses at accredited institutions.

"With the costs of higher education continuing to rise, knowledgeable families are taking advantage of 529 college savings plans," says Kris Spazafumo, Vice President, Investment Services, at Los Angeles-based American Funds, which manages CollegeAmerica. It's the country's largest 529 plan, with nearly $50 billion in assets, as of March 31, 2015. "More than 1.2 million families nationwide are now saving for college with CollegeAmerica on behalf of 2.1 million future college students, and we expect that number to grow as more people become aware of the many benefits that 529 plans offer."

Flexibility is a key feature of 529 plans. Parents and grandparents maintain control of the account, decide when and if to disburse the proceeds and retain the ability to change the beneficiaries. For example, if the child originally named as beneficiary doesn't need the money or doesn't go to college, the account beneficiary can be changed to another family member who might benefit. Account owners can even use the money for their own qualifying educational expenses to obtain a graduate degree, for instance, or specialized career training.

Anyone can open a 529 college savings plan, regardless of income, and can contribute up to $14,000 ($28,000 for married couples) annually without gift-tax consequences, and that money isn't considered part of the account owner's estate.

Since 529 plans are long-term investment vehicles, it's important to choose a plan that offers a wide range of investment options and proven management expertise, says Spazafumo, who notes that CollegeAmerica offers a number of choices from the highly rated American Funds mutual fund family.

Financing higher education requires saving consistently over the long term, but it's not impossible.

"A college education is a great investment, resulting in an estimated 70 percent more lifetime income and a 50 percent lower chance of being unemployed," Spazafumo says, adding that saving for college is a much less costly approach than borrowing. "Earning an 8 percent return, rather than paying 8 percent interest, a family with a goal of $10,000 in college savings can attain that by saving a total of $7,000 over 10 years, as opposed to repaying a total of $14,000 over 10 years if they had borrowed the $10,000."

Not only is borrowing more costly than saving your way to college, Spazafumo points out that there's evidence many students aren't able to keep up with their loan obligations. According to the Department of Education, borrowers who were due to start repaying their student loans in 2011 had a 13.7 percent default rate last year, thus damaging their credit ratings just as they were beginning their working lives.

Education has always been the pathway to higher incomes and job satisfaction, and that's likely to be truer than ever in the years to come. Combining a disciplined savings program with the right 529 college savings plan can help make your family member's dreams of college a reality.

CollegeAmerica is sponsored by Virginia529 and is distributed by American Funds Distributors, Inc. Interests in CollegeAmerica are sold through unaffiliated intermediaries.

Depending on your state of residence, there may be an in-state plan that provides tax and other benefits not available through CollegeAmerica. If withdrawals are used for purposes other than higher education, the earnings will be subject to a 10 percent federal tax penalty in addition to federal and, if applicable, state income tax.

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectus, summary prospectus and CollegeAmerica Program Description, which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing.

Meet the 'Soul-Sucking Dementor' Wasp

CNN World - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 8:24am
Scientists have documented more than a hundred new species in southeast Asia. One of them is a wasp named after a "Harry Potter" character.
Categories: International News

Painting a 'human canvas'

CNN - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 8:22am
Keyana Tahmaseb explores the idea of feeling trapped and fading into one's surroundings in her surrealist photo series "Human Canvas." In this series, the subjects literally blend with settings and objects through paint and other materials.
Categories: National News

Ex-FIFA official cites 'Onion' article in defense

CNN World - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 8:20am
A former FIFA official is ridiculed after citing an article by satirical news outlet The Onion in an attempt to defend himself against criminal charges.
Categories: International News

Official trained by U.S. to fight terror joins ISIS

CNN World - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 8:18am
CNN's Brian Todd reports that ISIS released a new video online, and the man in the video was a special counter-terror commander who defected to ISIS.
Categories: International News

Rare fossils discovered in basement

CNN World - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 8:16am
CNN affiliate CBC News reports that an Alberta, Canada, man discovered rare fossilized fish while digging up a basement.
Categories: International News

Komodo dragon bites zoo worker

CNN - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 8:11am
A Komodo dragon at a zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, bit a worker from inside a cage. CNN affiliate KETV reports.
Categories: National News

Man caught slashing tires after bingo dispute

CNN - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 8:11am
CNN affiliate Bay News 9 reports that an elderly man was caught on video slashing a woman's tires because he said the woman stole his bingo seat.
Categories: National News

Stocks: 4 things to know before the open

Business News - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 7:33am
Read full story for latest details.

Microsoft announces Windows 10 release date: July 29

Business News - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 7:18am
Windows 10 finally has an official release date: July 29.

Disney halts 'Tron 3'

CNN Entertainment - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 6:55am
Categories: Entertainment News

What's streaming in June

CNN Entertainment - Mon, 06/01/2015 - 6:48am
Categories: Entertainment News

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