Internet Links & Resources

Throughout our surfing of the internet, we have found many useful resources. Below are the links to the internet resources we believe are extremely valuable. If you come across other sites or alliances that you think would be useful to others, please let us know.

College Savings Information
Investing & Finance
Taxes - Income & Other
Computer & Business Resources
Internet Search Engines
Shipping Services
Consumer Issues & Charity


College Savings Information


Saving For College
Saving for college education is one of the top priorities for most people. This site helps you to learn more about the available options.
 
Section 529 Plans - General Information
This is a website with all the plans listed by plan and by state.  
Upromise
If you do NOTHING else to save for your child or grandchild's education, you've got to go to this website and enroll for FREE in this program that will have many vendors and services put money away for your child. Please, do this NOW!
For current RESIDENTS of Illinois, there are 3 state sponsored Section 529 plans with increased tax advantages for you. Contrary to popular belief NONE of these programs require your child to attend a college in Illinois:

College Illinois
This is by far the BEST plan for current residents of Illinois. This plan essentially lets you pay for future college costs in today's dollars. Please contact us if you have any questions about this program or would like to determine how this can work for you and your family.
 
Bright Directions College Savings Program
This plan enables you to create a diversified investment portfolio for your future college costs in such a way that all of the growth will be exempt from both federal and Illinois state tax, provided the money is withdrawn for educational purposes only. In addition. Illinois will give you a deduction on your taxes for contributions made, up to $20,000 (if filing joint) in a tax year. You will have your choice of investments from several different fund families such as PIMCO, Fidelity, DFA, American Century, Northern Funds, Legg Mason, William Blair, AllianceBernstein, Ariel Capital, T. Rowe Price, Barclays Global Investors, and Calvert. Please contact us if you have any questions about this program or would like to determine how this can work for you and your family.
Bright Start College Savings Program
This program is essentially the same as Bright Directions except the investments are only managed by Citigroup Asset Management. Please contact us if you have any questions about this program or would like to determine how this can work for you and your family.

Investing & Finance


PersonalFund.Com
Want to really know the "true" cost of ownership of some of the mutual funds you may hold? This is a great site to learn things you never knew. (Please contact us for a username and password) For many investors with more than $100,000 to invest, investing in mutual funds can cost far more than with Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs), which provide far less "style drift" and better guarantee proper diversification. After reviewing this site, click here to learn more about this "managed money" process.
 
Bankrate.com
This appears to be one of the best websites providing up-to-date information on the interest rates for certificate of deposits (CDs), mortgages, credit cards and other types of loans.


Taxes - Income & Other


Federal Estimated Tax Payments (EFTPS)
This is the federal government's website for being able to make federal estimated tax payments, and the final amount due with your 1040, online.
 
Illinois Estimated Tax Payments
This is the Illinois government's website for being able to make Illinois estimated tax payments, and the final amount due with your 1040, online.
 
Complete Tax
This web link is for those of you that wish to prepare your tax return by yourself. In the past, many people that did not want to use a professional to prepare their return used TurboTax or TaxCut when preparing returns. Now you have the ability to use a customized version of the same professional software we use.
 
Pay Income Taxes With a Credit Card
Charging your government payments on your credit card is fast, convenient and easy. It helps you defer the payment, giving you flexibility in your cash-flow management. And, if you participate in rewards programs offered by your credit card issuer, you actually earn rewards for your government payments. This website can handle all of the details of paying by credit card. Either go to the site or call 800-2PAY-TAX.
 
Illinois Treasurer Unclaimed Property
This is a website for tracking down unclaimed property within the State of Illinois.


Computer & Business Resources


Adobe Acrobat Reader
Many websites, including ours, provide you with files in a format that requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click on this link in order to download this Free program.
 
Microsoft Template Gallery
Another great resource, provided by Microsoft, for giving you ideas for various templates, regardless of which Microsoft program you are using: Word, Excel, Powerpoint or more.
 
GotoMyPC
We have hooked up with this valuable productivity tool that allows you to connect to any PC in the world provided you can get to an internet connection. Think of all the possibilities for connecting to a remote site, working from home but not taking home any computer files, etc. Believe it or not, this works through virtually any internal firewall too.
 
Efax
This is a great productivity tool that will enable you to receive AND fax from within ANY application using just your internet connection.
 


Shipping Services


United States Post Office
Many people don't know that you can now print your own postage on this site as well as being able to calculate postage, track packages and much, much more.
 
Fedex
You can track any packages sent by or TO you using this site. You can also sign up to produce the normal shipping documents using your own printer.
 
United Parcel Service (UPS)
You can track any packages sent by or TO you using this site. You can also sign up to produce the normal shipping documents using your own printer.
 


Internet Search Engines


Metacrawler
Search the search engines including Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask Jeeves
 
Google
Probably the web's premier web search engine.


Consumer Issues & Charity


Hybrid Cars
We feel ethically responsible to make this information available to everybody. If you are wondering if the premium for the hybrid car is more than the gas savings, please contact us.
 
Inflation Data
This website is dedicated to providing you with the most current Inflation Rate Data on the web, in addition to information on the other monetary activities of the Federal Government and US Treasury.
 
Charity Navigator
This is essentially everything you always wanted to know about a charity. From its organizational efficiency to capacity to even comparisons to their peers. We are big believers in charitable giving but believe it's better when your money gets directly to the charitable purpose, not overhead.



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