Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida



By Kamlesh H. Patel, CPA

When you hear the term, “Section 529 Plan,” the last thing you might think of is flexibility. But these college-saving investment vehicles offer some surprising options if your higher education plans take a detour.

Traditionally, a 529 plan is used to save for a child’s college education. Established by all 50 states, these plans provide a way to set aside after-tax dollars in an account that can grow tax-free until the child needs money for post-secondary education. Funds can then be withdrawn tax-free to pay for qualified expenses, such as tuition and books.

But what happens to the account if your child receives a substantial college scholarship, or decides to skip college and step straight into the workforce? Such contingencies are no problem for a 529 plan, because you can re-direct the beneficiary to another child, family member, or even yourself.

In fact, funding a 529 plan for your own education can make a lot of sense. As more companies cut back on employer-paid training, the cost to stay current on job-related skills might become your responsibility. With a 529 plan, you can pay for a course at the local community college or qualified trade school or even fund a future MBA degree.

And the training doesn’t have to be all work and no play. You can use your account to pay for a class on any topic, such as your favorite hobby or philanthropic interest, just as long as the course is offered by an eligible post-secondary institution.

Flexibility aside, there still remain some important decisions to make when starting a 529 plan, such as how much to put in and what investment vehicles to choose from.


All small businesses start with something in common: they devour cash. They need cash for inventory, office space, insurance, legal fees, business licenses, remodeling costs, and the list goes on. If you’re thinking about starting a small business, here are some financing sources to consider.

Other sources of start-up financing include retirement plans, grants, even credit cards. Remember to think through the amount needed and have a realistic plan for repayment.


Whenever inflation begins to creep higher, you’ll hear talk about “Treasury Inflation Protection Securities,” or TIPS for short. Ever since they were introduced in 1997, TIPS have been touted as an inflation hedge. But an investment in TIPS is hardly bullet-proof.

TIPS are long-term obligations guaranteed by the federal government. Like other Treasury bonds, TIPS pay interest at a fixed rate until maturity, but the principal is adjusted monthly, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). When the CPI increases, so does the principal. Conversely, if the CPI drops, the principal follows suit.

TIPS pay interest twice a year by taking these adjustments into account. Upon maturity, the government pays the greater of the original principal or the adjusted amount.

Here are some of the other key facts you should know about TIPS.

In a single auction, you may purchase up to $5 million in TIPS through noncompetitive bidding or up to 35 percent of the initial offering through competitive bidding.

In certain economic conditions, there’s a risk that TIPS will actually provide a negative return, as they did early in 2010. Also, other comparable investments without inflation protection may provide higher interest rates. Finally, you must pay tax annually on the principal adjustments resulting from higher inflation.

Bottom line: You might include TIPS in your portfolio, but don’t go overboard. Weigh all the pros and cons first.

Kamlesh H. Patel, CPA, can be reached at (813) 949-8889 or e-mail or


What Today's Workers Can Expect From Social Security Tomorrow


Did you know that the age at which many workers will qualify for full Social Security benefits has risen to 67 from 65? If that's news to you, you're not alone: The majority of workers are still in the dark about Social Security eligibility requirements and many expect to qualify for benefits payments sooner than they actually will. Combined with lingering questions about the long-term financial health of the overall Social Security program, these facts reinforce the importance of understanding exactly what you might expect from Social Security during your retirement.

Benefit basics

The exact amount of your Social Security benefit will depend upon your earnings history. To help you get an idea of how much you might expect, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will mail you an estimate of your future benefit each year, about three months before your birthday.

According to the SSA, your benefits will be there for you when you retire. However, the SSA also acknowledges that some changes to the present system may be required. For example, when Social Security was created, the average life span was less than 65 years. But today, many people are living longer, healthier lives. And because the nation's 76 million Baby Boomers are approaching retirement, there will be nearly twice as many older Americans in 30 years as there are today.

What's in store?

Currently, Social Security takes in more in taxes each year than it pays out in benefits. But in 2016, according to estimates by the SSA, the amount of benefits paid out will begin to exceed the amount collected in taxes. Based on SSA projections, by 2037, the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted and payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 73 percent of benefits owed. Recognition of these issues is growing, and legislators are now looking at funding and investment options to resolve them. While your Social Security benefits are an important piece of the retirement income equation, you probably shouldn't plan to rely on Social Security alone for your future income. Your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan, company pension and personal savings may need to provide the major portion of your income in retirement.

Seema Ramroop, financial advisor, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, can be reached at or call (727) 773-4629.


Are you financially exposed?

By Adi Khorsandian

Many people realize the need for life insurance but keep putting it off until it is too late. You may think that life insurance is confusing, expensive and complicated. You may think you don’t know enough to make the right decisions for you and your loved ones. Postponing this decision leaves you and your family exposed financially.

Assumption No. 1: I’ll always be able to buy life insurance. You could develop a health condition that makes you uninsurable or could make life insurance too costly for you.

Assumption No. 2: I’ll get life insurance later when I’m older or have a family. Life insurance may be needed at all stages of life. Whether married or single, male or female, with or without children, you may have financial obligations that need to be met. Life insurance provides financial security for you and your loved ones.

Assumption No. 3: My family and I are covered by the group insurance at work. To meet the future needs of your family, you need to have seven to 10 times your annual income. Most group term insurance amounts offered by employers won’t meet this need. And, when you don’t work for that employer any longer, you usually lose that coverage

Assumption No. 4: My husband has life insurance so I don’t need it. Women often live longer than men but not always. There are countless stories of men who had to shoulder the family financial burden along with the emotional burden after their wife passed away.

Assumption No. 5: My family can cover funeral and burial expenses. Burying a spouse or loved one is the most stressful time in a family’s life. Having life insurance can reduce financial concerns for the family.

Take the time now to review your needs and provide adequately for yourself and your family.

Adi Khorsandian, a State Farm agent providing insurance and financial services, can be reached at (813) 991-4111 or visit

homeeventsbiz directorysubscribecontentclasses/places of worshipnewseditorialhealthimmigrationfinance
techno cornermoviesfashionmusic/dancebooksyogahome improvementastrologycuisinemotoringgetawayclassifiedsARCHIVES
Read the Editor's Blog. By Nitish Rele Classifieds Getaway Motoring Cuisine Astrology Home Improvement Books Yoga Music and Dance Fashion Movies Techno Corner Finance Immigration Health Editorial News Classes/Places of Worship Content Find us on Facebook!