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    Briefly Noted

    FINRA Launches On-Line Market Data Resource

    The newly created Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has launched a new, free on-line information resource for retail investors, with a strong emphasis on fixed-income securities. The data includes:

    • Detailed market data on equities, options, mutual funds and a wide range of bonds, including corporate, municipal, Treasury and agency bonds;
    • A full profile for every exchange-listed company, including company description, recent news stories and SEC filings, and an interactive list of domestic securities the company issues;
    • Information on individual securities, equities indexes and the FINRA-Bloomberg Active U.S. Corporate Bond Indexes for investment-grade and high-yield bonds;
    • U.S. Treasury Benchmark yields, market news, an economic calendar and other information indicating current market conditions; and
    • FINRA Investor Education material.

    FINRA was created by the combination of the NASD and the regulatory and enforcement functions of the New York Stock Exchange. The on-line information is located in the Market Data section of FINRA’s Web site at www.finra.org/marketdata.

    Grandparents Prefer the “Grand” Part of Parenting

    AARP Financial has released a research survey of grandparents and their relationships with, and support of, their grandchildren. The survey results include the following:

    • Two out of three grandparents prefer grandparenting to parenting;
    • 79% of grandparents agree that kids today do not understand the value of a dollar and 57% say they are concerned that if they give their grandkids too much that they will spoil them;
    • Grandparents believe their kids do a better job providing for their grandkids than they do teaching them good money habits.

    AARP financial, a wholly owned taxable subsidiary of AARP, has created a special Web site, www.aarpfinancial.com/grandparents, where you can learn principles for investing for your grandchildren and get guidance on how to talk to grandkids about investing.

    Last-Minute College Savings Ideas

    If you have a child who will be attending college soon, and you haven’t begun to save, there are options available for parents whose college nest egg is not what it should be, according to the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA).

    • Find Financial Aid Dollars: If you think you may be eligible for federal student aid, you should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There are many types of aid available; you can find out more at www.fafsa.edu.gov. There are also sources other than federal aid. The College Board site (www.collegeboard.com) offers advice on conducting a scholarship search and provides links to several free search services. But be careful not to be taken in by scholarship scams. The Federal Trade Commission offers tips for parents at www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/scholarship/.
    • Seek a Match: Students who apply to colleges where their grades and test scores are securely in the top 25% of the student body are more likely to get generous aid packages.
    • State Your Case: What happens when a school has accepted your child and offered some aid, but not enough to realistically cover expenses? There is no harm in asking for more. Arrange to meet the financial aid officer in person, and let him or her know that the school is your child’s top choice, but the family just can’t swing the payment.
    • Start at a Community College: Students can begin at a less expensive community college and live at home during the first year or two, then transfer to, and graduate from, a more elite school.
    • Maximize Tax Benefits: College savings plans, such as 529 plans, make it possible to invest money for college that can grow tax free.

    Source: The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA).