How to Set Up a Trust Fund for a Child – Steps & Tips

Setting up a trust fund takes enormous consideration and responsibility, but it is an extra-effort step in financial security that will ensure your child or children has what they need when they need it. Trust-fund kids are often the brunt of jokes about financial wealth, but trust funds are not necessarily for the wealthiest of the wealthy. Families from modest backgrounds can learn how to set up a trust fund for a child without a net worth in the millions. The steps and tips below will help you get started.

the words trust fund written with a thick dark blue font and color on a white background

1: Decide Where to Begin

The beginning of learning how to set up a trust fund for a child starts with choosing where you want to start. You will first need to determine how much and what kind of property goes into the trust. You can start with anything. Trust funds do not need to have tens of thousands to open. They also do not have to contain large pieces of property.

2: Select a Custodian and Trustee

While you are learning how to set up a trust fund for a child, you must select a custodian and trustee. The trustee can be you, but for the most benefits, you should choose someone who is not you. This will create an ideal trust that is irrevocable. A custodian manages the trust disbursements in the way you outline it.

a pile of 100 plenty of dollar bills close-up

3: Decide What Financial Institution to Use

When you are learning how to set up a trust fund for a child, you will need to make big decisions about the kind of financial institution you will start the trust with. This requires attention to detail and market research. Comparing the benefits of each financial institution is necessary before making a decision. Once you have opened the trust, it is difficult to switch to another bank and should be avoided.

4: Decide on the Terms

The next step of learning how to set up a trust fund for a child is to decide the terms that the trust will be released on. If it is all money, the trustee can release funds at a specific date. The funds can also be tied to specific events that are outlined by you and written into place by an attorney or someone else who has extensive knowledge about financial assets.

Choosing these terms and solidifying a plan is not something that is done quickly. People often plan trust funds for their children before the child is born or in early childhood.

a cute tiny newborn baby sleeping in a basket

5: Consider What Benefit You Want

Money placed into a trust cannot be taxed. Physical assets in a trust cannot be taxed. If you have placed the trust completely in the hands of a trustee who isn’t you, then you will receive maximum benefits, but you will need to pay the trustee in most cases to protect those assets and uphold the specifics of the terms.

6: Have a Contingency Plan

If something happens in the child’s life that bars them from accessing the funds or property at the right time, then have a contingency plan so that those funds can be appropriated elsewhere or for a different purpose.

If your terms say that twenty-thousand dollars should be released upon marriage, but your child decides not to marry, then there should be alternatives for that money. Your child should not necessarily know the specific terms that are outlined in the trust to avoid them trying to circumvent the terms surrounding the trust.

7: Ensure Protection

With appropriate legal guidance, a trust can be protected from the child’s spouse or creditors. Gifts of money or property do not have the same protections. This is one of the primary reasons to get a trust in the first place, and you should make all of the effort possible for learning how to set up a trust fund for a child that affords them protection from losing property or money to someone with bad intentions.

8: Obtain the Proper Documents No

Trust documents are safest and strongest when an attorney writes them while guided by your intentions. However, you can save money by writing your own documents using a trust-document kit that teaches you how to set up a trust fund for a child. You can take your written documents to an attorney for review and modifications.

the words college fund written on a transparent jar full of dollar bills

9: Fund the Trust Wisely

You can funnel money into a trust using long-term investments, and this is generally the soundest way to create an ample trust that continues to grow through your child’s life. Do not make all contributions to the fund long-term investments. In the event of an emergency, there should be funds available for your child’s care. This isn’t possible with long-term investments that need to reach maturity.

10: Leave Out Personal Items

Do not make a trust fund more complicated and unnecessarily bulky by adding personal items like cars, homes or other types of property. While a trust fund can contain these items, it requires more documentation about managing that property over the life of the trust.

cute yellow baby slippers placed on the ground outdoors

11: Do It Yourself When You Can

If you have knowledgeable friends or family you can hire cheaply, use their skills and services to learn how to set up a trust fund for a child. When you can use a more affordable option for managing a trust, do so. If you cannot do it well with the help of people you know, stick to the experts.

Bottom Line

A trust fund can be set up at any point in your child’s life, but starting one early is going to serve your family better and give it time to develop. Trust funds can help you financially as well, but they should not be created for the sole purpose of evading taxes.

In order to be the most trustworthy and reliable, a trust fund should be irrevocable and completely for your child regardless of whether you change your mind.

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How to Organize a Yard Sale – 14 Effective Tips

Learning how to organize a yard sale will help you reach maximum profits and success. Getting rid of clutter and excess belongings is easy when you have a yard sale that is organized efficiently and properly. These effective tips for how to organize a yard sale will give you the tools you need to sell your excess that may otherwise be donated or thrown out.

a sign with the words Yard Sale written on a white background

#1. Gather Your Items to Sell

Gathering your sellable items is the first step in learning how to organize a yard sale. You should make sure everything is clean. Goods that are not clothing should be wiped down and tested for working condition.

If electronics or similar goods are not in working condition, make sure they are labeled correctly. This will make it easier for you to put items out on the day of your yard sale.

#2. Advertise Appropriately

A week before your yard sale, you should make sure that you are making effective advertisements. Social media has become a major way to advertise to hundreds of people at no cost. Utilize social media outlets to their maximum.

Your local newspaper will also have a section for yard sales, and you should submit an ad to the paper. Finally, you will need to post signs near your home that advertise your upcoming sale.

a woman looking at a table full of different items during a yard sale outdoors

#3. Boast Bigger Items If You Have Them

You can lure people to your yard sale by advertising bigger-ticket items you may have for sale. This includes furniture, appliances, game consoles and brand-name items. If people are coming for those specific items, they are likely to check out other things you have for sale too.

#4. Combine with Neighbors

If you want to learn how to organize a yard sale, combine your efforts with neighbors. A yard sale with multiple families hosting it is more successful because people have the incentive to come to a neighborhood that may be out of their way. Customers get more options when shopping, and you get more foot traffic.

#5. Make Your Yard Sale Look Good

In case you have been to a yard sale where home goods and clothes were thrown everywhere on tables, then you know this is not how to organize a yard sale. Instead, you want to organize your items on tables in a neat and orderly fashion.

If you do not have time to do so, at least group items together in similar categories. Don’t mix children’s clothes with adult clothes. Don’t have DVDs strewn across different tables. Keep things together so shoppers can clearly see what you are offering.

#6. Use Labels and Signs

Labels and signs help you organize effectively. Labeling individual items or tables is helpful for your own records as well as for the people who are shopping. Having people ask for the price is tedious. If a price is not listed, people are less likely to make a purchase.

#7. Allow Haggling

When you are learning how to organize a yard sale, you also need to know a bit about haggling. It’s a fun part of hosting a successful yard sale. Make sure shoppers know that best offers are acceptable.

They will feel more comfortable making offers, and you are likely to sell more. In order to haggle effectively, you should set your prices slightly higher so that you still get what you expect from items you are selling.

several people searching for valuable items during a large yard sale

#8. Research Items of Value

If you have valuable items to sell, you should research their value before making price determinations. Learning how to organize a yard sale takes time and effort.

When you research items beforehand, you are discovering useful details about the market value of goods and pricing accordingly. This helps both parties: the buyer and seller. You know what your goods are valued at, and buyers can get a fair price.

#9. Be Clear

Be clear about what you are offering at your sale. Clarity helps buyers decide whether they are going to stop at your yard sale. You don’t want to attract disgruntled customers who thought they were getting something they are not. False advertising is a lose-lose situation for everyone.

#10. Have Change on Hand

Use a box for cash. Keep change on hand for buyers. If you do not have change, people are less likely to buy. Having plenty of quarters, singles, five-dollar bills and so on will help you organize an effective and successful yard sale. Rookies always make the mistake of not having change beforehand.

#11. Protect Your Home

In the event of large sales, people may mistake your home as a place where they can wander or use facilities. Post signs that make it clear your home does not have a public restroom. Lock your doors and windows. Keep shades drawn for safety.

#12. Let Kids Have a Bake Sale or Lemonade Stand

Kids love helping out at yard sales. If you have children, you may consider letting them sell small snacks and beverages. This gives them something to do, and it also helps make a few extra bucks. Snacks and coffee in the early morning are usually exciting to people hunting yard sales.

plenty of clothes on hangers displayed at a yard sale

#13. Hang Nicer Clothes

It’s not realistic to hang all of the clothes you have for sale, but nicer clothing items should be hung up for better presentation and protection of the garment.

#14. Be Ready for Opening

One of the biggest mistakes people make when learning how to organize a yard sale is not opening on time. If your advertisement says six A.M., be ready at that time.

Wrapping It Up

Hosting a successful yard sale is easy once you know how to efficiently organize and advertise your sale. Yard sales take a lot of effort before the day of the sale, but it pays off by the end of the day of your sale. You will make more money with the above tips, and your customers will be happy. Everyone wins and has fun in the process.

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How to Save Money on Your Electric Bill – 11 Tips

At some point, you have probably wondered how to save money on your electric bill. Saving money often means cutting back on usage, but there are plenty of ways to save without living a minimalist lifestyle. Electricity savings translate into lower bills, but they are also great for the environment. The tips below for how to save money on your electric bill are a combination of usage habits, clever tricks and up-front investments that pay off in the long run.

an electric bill with a LED bulb and a regular bulb and a pen

1: Reduce Heat, Turn Air Down

In colder months where you would typically have the heat turned up, try turning it down a few degrees. Keeping temperatures at 70 degrees instead of 72 can make a big difference in the amount of energy used to keep your home warm. In the summer, keep the air conditioning at 75 degrees to reduce cooling costs.

These numbers should be adjusted based on where you live and your local climate. If there are times during the year where you can forgo heating and cooling, utilize open windows and ceiling fans instead. These options use less power and cost less.

2: Switch to LED Bulbs

LED bulbs are better than CFL bulbs. They use pennies per year, and they can drastically reduce your energy use and costs associated. If you have wondered how to save money on your electric bill by reducing lighting costs, LED bulbs are the secret. Technology advancements have made them cheaper to purchase from mass retailers, and they are no longer a specialty bulb that costs a fortune to invest in.

a large white economic LED bulb

3: Replace Old Appliances

Old appliances are a drain on electric costs. An old refrigerator can use double or triple the power of an energy-star certified model. It will cost more money to upgrade appliances, but you will be saving money long term.

4: Unplug Everything

This tip can be tedious to keep up with, but unplugging things that are not in use can save you money. When you listen to people talk about how to save money on your electric bill, they will often cite unplugging power strips and computers when not in use.

This may seem difficult, but you would be surprised by the amount of energy that is slowly drained by lamps, computers, and appliances that are not even turned on. Connecting cables to a power-saving strip makes it easier to implement this habit. You simply unplug the power strip instead of each individual cord.

unplugged appliances and some dollar bills and coins on a table

5: Take Shorter Showers

Cutting back on your showering and morning routine can save you a bundle. Look no further than your grooming habits to learn how to save money on your electric bill. Showers have to be heated, and water heaters are often powered by electricity.

If yours is powered by gas, you will still be saving money from one of those two bills. Forgoing usage of grooming appliances like blow dryers, flat irons, and similar gadgets also conserves and saves you money. You will even shave time off of getting ready.

6: Go to Bed Earlier

It sounds silly, but turning lights off even two hours earlier will show you that learning how to save money on your electric bill can be as easy as not using it. If you are up late frequently, you are likely using things that require electricity. Turning them off and getting into bed will help you get more sleep and save money.

a tall electric power high voltage pillar in a field

7: Switch Power Companies

People wrongfully assume that you have to stick with the power company that the majority uses. Cities typically have multiple power companies, and those companies may be cheaper. If switching is an option for you, research other companies in the area to determine how to save money on your electric bill.

8: Switch to Partial Green Energy

Speaking of power companies, many now offer wind power, solar, geothermal and other alternatives to electricity. These choices can temporarily raise your electric costs, but they will tell you how to save money on your electric bill over the course of a year or two without installing your own solar panels or wind turbines.

a green light bulb surrounded by green thick arrows symbolizing green energy

9: Install Solar Panels

If you are interested in installing your own solar panels, then you will have a higher up-front cost but lower bills over the lifetime of the panels. Green-energy installations often come with tax credits or similar incentives. Power companies sometimes pay people for the energy they use with solar panels if they produce more than they need.

some solar panels installed on a house roof

10: Keep Vents Open and Clean

Open and clean vents lead to more efficient heating and cooling. It’s a simple and effortless tip that will save you a lot of money. Making sure the filters for your heating and cooling system are replaced monthly also goes a long way in saving you money. Do not listen to the myth that says to close vents off. This just makes your system work harder and use more energy.

11: Watch Your Laundry

If you aren’t already washing most loads in cold water, switch to cold water immediately. This is a quick energy saving tip, but it doesn’t stop there. Use line drying whenever possible to reducing drying costs. Use the right balance of laundry in a load to prevent the machine from working too hard or wasting a wash load on just a few items. These little tweaks to your usage go a long way.

Putting It All Together

Whether you have a 100 percent electricity-powered home, or a combination of electric and gas, you will be saving money and energy with the tips above. Drastic changes aren’t required, but if you have outdated appliances that are not efficient, you will need to spend some money upfront to reduce your overall electric bill costs.

Remember that these tips will need to be adjusted depending on where you live. Urban or rural living can make a difference in costs as well as the options available to you, but figuring out what your home requires is easy and worth the cost savings.

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Advice for New Parents – 12 Useful Things They Should Know

Being a new parent is an exciting journey that requires a lot of patience and learning. Advice for new parents is readily available. Still, you probably don’t want to hear that particular advice for new parents coming from a stranger on the street for the thousandth time.

These tried-and-true tips are useful and come from people who were once new parents themselves. If it doesn’t work for you, just move on to the next thing that will.

*The following tips were listed in particular order.

two young parents smiling and looking at their baby

1: Don’t Buy into Fads

Fads happen in the parenting world. Advice for new parents include trends like only outfitting your baby in all-organic clothing, making a purely homemade diet, early reading programs that start entirely too young and more.

These fads often require you spend a ton of money up-front, and they are not proven to be any more useful than conventional ideas about parenting. If it sounds like a trend, it probably is. Don’t waste your time.

2: Let Your Values Guide You

It’s okay to let your values about parenting guide your parenting choices, but don’t feel like a horrible parent for having to give up some of those values for the sake of practicality and reality. If you breastfeed your baby, don’t feel ashamed if you need to use formula at some point or pump.

If you use cloth diapers, don’t think you are lazy for needing an occasional disposable diaper. Most of all, it’s okay to let your child watch television. It does not make you a lazy parent.

3: Don’t Be Afraid to Tell People to Shut Up

You will get plenty of unsolicited advice from parents, family members, friends and random people. Don’t be afraid to tell them to stop giving you unsolicited advice. Telling them to shut up may not be the best choice of words, but you may need to be firm and clear when you say to them to stop telling you how to raise your child.

two moms with their babies in babywearing having tea together

4: Babywearing Isn’t as Carefree as It Looks

Babywearing isn’t as easy and carefree as advertisements make it look, but it is a great option for traveling and going outdoors. A sturdy wrap or harness that fits your body well is priceless. Invest in one that can convert easily if you choose this route of carrying your child.

5: Babywearing Is Similar to Tummy Time

While babywearing isn’t as easy as it looks, it does work the same muscles in your baby’s body the way tummy-time exercises do. It strengthens the neck muscles and other muscles that help a baby learn to support themselves.

6: It Is Okay Not to Love Every Minute

Parents get the idea from society and culture that you have to love every minute of being a new parent. In reality, you will not love every minute, and that is okay. You should embrace the wonderful moments, but let yourself have a break during the moments in which it is less-than desirable.

7: Post-Partum Depression Happens

This is a topic that is often silenced in parenting groups and mainstream magazines or blogs. Post-partum depression is real, and it happens to mothers with the best intentions sometimes. If you need help, do not be afraid to ask for it. There are options for mothers who feel this way, and it saves lives. This should be standard encouragement and advice for all new parents to remember.

8: You Can Travel as a New Parent

If you have ever flown, you have probably seen new parents on a flight feeling overwhelmed and tired. Nowadays, international flights have infants more commonly than ever before. It is possible to travel as a new parent, and you do not have to give this up when you become one. It requires extra planning, but don’t listen to people who say you are doomed to a life at home for five years. You are not.

a small baby holding a jar of baby food trying to taste the food inside the container

9: Some Baby Foods Are a Scam

Baby foods and toddler foods are often lacking in nutrition. This isn’t to say that canned baby food is a problem, but cereals before six months are not recommended. Toddler snacks are often loaded with salt and extra sugars.

Use formula or breast milk until at least six months, and then introduce and feed healthful whole foods slowly. The best feeding advice for new parents is to simply feed your baby foods closest to their natural state, and puff crisps are not natural.

10: Pumping and Dumping Is a Myth

This is especially important if you are breastfeeding. New moms often think they cannot have alcohol if they are breastfeeding, but you can have one drink. Even if you have a couple of drinks, it isn’t enough to harm your baby. Advice for new parents will often tell moms to pump and dump their breast milk, but this is a myth. You can still drink wine and breastfeed simultaneously, as long as you don’t abuse alcohol.

11: You Can Go Back to Work

There’s pressure on new parents to take a long maternity or paternity leave, but don’t be ashamed if you need to or want to go back to work as soon as possible. Advice for new parents often encourages being with the new baby all the time, but that isn’t always possible. It is okay for you to want to have a fulfilling career life or to need that income.

12: Exclusively Breastfed Babies Rarely Get Constipated

If your child does get constipated while being exclusively breast fed, don’t worry. Some advice for new parents may have you freaking out if your child becomes constipated, but it’s normal. A baby between two and three months can go up to two weeks without pooping, and that is fine.

Bottom Line

The best advice for new parents is to simply let yourselves breathe, and when the baby sleeps, you sleep. You will be exhausted. Focus on taking care of yourself when you can so that you are ready for your baby during meal times, diaper changes and everything else in life.

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