Monday, June 30, 2008
New Sport First Aid, Fourth Edition textbook and course provide coaches with latest techniques for being competent first responders
Saturday, June 28, 2008
US Record in Men's 100 M set in the first round - http://www.usatf.org/events/2008/OlympicTrials-TF/results/Q1.asp
Unfortunate story about how .15 seconds makes for wasted 2400 mile trip for UAlbany (NY) 400 Meter Hurdler, Joe Greene.
NBA coaches share winning strategiesNew book showcases techniques and tactics from basketball's elite
NBA Coaches Association
For more information, an excerpt, review copy, or author interview, contact:
Patty Lehn Publicity Manager On short term leave Alexis Koontz Publicity Associate217.403.7985
Friday, June 27, 2008
Chilling out right now in Avalon, NJ so the jokes, updates, the recap of the Bare Hare Duathlon (the 1st clothing optional duathlon ever held in North America) and other useless insight will return next week. But I did want to remind you of a wonderful event that we’ll be timing on Sunday.
Tri Max Endurance Sports (www.trimaxendurancesports.com) will be having their Off Road Sprint Marathon up at Winters State Park near Mifflinburg. I hear that the park is beautiful and the distances are very reasonable; half mile swim, 11+ mile mt bike and 3.9 mile trail run. The TriMax folks know how to put on a NICE triathlon. The ones that we timed last year and earlier this year in the Poconos were REALLY enjoyed by their participants. We hope to see a LOT of our mid and up state friends that enjoy a race with a lot of variety and scenic beauty.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Herb is an offensive wizard and a great motivator, one of the best speakers you will find.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The Back on My Feet 20in24 Relay Challenge, Ultra Marathon and Midnight Madness Run Presented by Nike
July 19-20, 2008 – Philadelphia,
The 20in24 Relay Challenge
This is Philadelphia’s first 24-hour relay race. The event is created for teams of five that can choose a participation category ranging from 8.4 miles to 33.4 miles per member.
The Lone Ranger - Ultra Marathon Option
For those who are a little more nuts than the rest of us, the Lone Ranger option challenges individuals to complete as many loops as possible in the 24-hour time frame. There will be special prizes for those who complete 50 (6 loops) and 100 (12 loops) miles.
Midnight Madness - Philly's New Glow-in-the-Dark Run
Be one of the hundreds to participate in Philadelphia’s first glow-in-the-dark 8.4-mile run around the Schuylkill River Loop starting at Midnight on Saturday, July 19th in front of Lloyd Hall. In addition to prizes for the top three finishers, awards will be given to the most illuminated runner.
Central Staging Area
Situated on the banks and overlooking the Schuylkill River, just north of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Lloyd Hall is the only public athletic facility on Boathouse Row. This facility is air-conditioned and will be open the entire 24 hours to all 20in24 participants. Inside, you will be able to sleep, relax, eat, watch movies, play video games and board games, get massages and even take a shower. In addition, a 24-hour secure baggage check will be made available to participants.
For more information and to register for any of the three categories visit, www.20in24.com
Back on My Feet
Because of the wonderful support of our sponsors and partners, 100 percent of the profits from the 20in24 go directly to support Back on My Feet. We are pleased to provide 20in24 participants the option of either paying the registration fee or fundraising the same amount.
If you have any questions please contact Maureen O’Toole at email@example.com.
This is true at any level camp - not just these large school machines.
Jen Flint and Aimee Rodriquez at Runaway Success are at it again in the great Philly area with a unique race that matches speed and power. This is tough, bench your weight for as many reps as you can and then run a 5K.
Runaway Success as running store locations in Paoli and Collegeville PA and offer a great number of events, educational seminars and group runs. Check them out.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Champaign, IL -- Overtraining presents numerous problems to athletes and their teams. Overtraining Athletes: Personal Journeys in Sport (Human Kinetics, April 2008) seeks to communicate the complex subject of overtraining to help athletes, coaches, parents, and sport science professionals understand the dangers of overtraining and take steps toward prevention. Using history and research, current experts' perspectives, and athletes' personal experiences, Overtraining Athletes identifies forces that push athletes to overtrain by sharing the struggles of those athletes and the sport professionals who seek to help them.
The text employs a nonlinear structure, allowing the flexibility to sample chapters from each of its four parts based on interest and level of knowledge about the topic. By presenting the phenomenon of overtraining from a variety of perspectives and with varying degrees of technicality, the book engages a wide range of readers while presenting significant research and studies in the area. Each of the four parts of the text displays a distinct method for understanding the effects of overtraining:
· A review of current research and risk factors that increase the probability of overtraining
· Perspectives from coaches and sport scientists that will help readers recognize the characteristics and behaviors of susceptible athletes
· The real-world experiences of athletes with a history of overtraining presented through three aggregate case studies
· A comprehensive model of overtraining risks and outcomes to help identify athletes who might be at risk as well as environments and cultures that increase vulnerability to overtraining
Overtraining Athletes presents information through a qualitative focus combined with current research and future directions, encouraging readers to learn about the topic and take action in the treatment and prevention of overtraining.
For more information on Overtraining Athletes, contact Human Kinetics at 800-747-4457 or visit www.HumanKinetics.com.
ABOUT THE BOOK
ISBN 978-0-7360-6787-4 · $38.00
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sean O. Richardson, PhD, completed his doctoral work in sport psychology at Victoria University (Melbourne, Australia) in 2006. His dissertation research focused on the risk factors for athletic overtraining, stress-life balance, and injury.
Part I: What We Know So Far
Part III: What We Can Learn from Athletes
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Not sure all of these comments make sense. But, one thing is for sure, uniform start of the season date or not, FSU and Mike Martin continue their fuitlity at the College World Series! Two and out is as ugly a phrase in Tallahassee as Wide Right (I was at the first one and believe me, it hurt!)
I side with the coaches on the academics - but maybe it is not necessary to play 56 college baseball games? How much would it hurt to play fewer mid week games that you have to fly to? Cut down 5 or 6 mid week games and work on player development??!!
Maybe if these coaches used that time to develop players and pitchers more, they would have better success in the post season, more successful players in the pros and have fewer arm injuries? Perhaps not, but I don't think you can dismiss this entirely.
Even college coaches look at "arm use" or "innings pitched" or "high intensity appearances" when judging future talent and weighing all the facts. Unfortunatley no definite research is avalable to make true sense of all these factors, but one thing is for sure. Poor throwing mechnics leads to injury and it is very hard to fix these problems mid season if you are playing all the time.
Just my two cents...
Monday, June 16, 2008
While I am on the topic of Hamilton, my old school, let me brag about this guy!
He is so good, the school gave him his own web page!
Maybe it is the new AD's influence! Jon Hind...
Again, since I am here, one of the most trafficed pages I used to have was a Hamilton Football Blog...http://www.athletesadvisor.com/articles/football/hamilton.htm
It is kind of dated, but shows the transition from the last coach, to Steve Stetson who appears to have them moving in the right direction!
Tetreault '08 led Hamilton to first NCAA team championshipContact: James Taylor (jtaylor)Phone: (315) 859-4685June 16, 2008
Academic All-American Nicole Tetreault '08
Hamilton College women's lacrosse player Nicole Tetreault '08 (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland HS) has been selected to the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Women's At-Large Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Tetreault is one of 15 student-athletes on the College Division's First Team. A total of 45 student-athletes from across the country in NCAA Divisions II and III were recognized on three teams.
Tetreault ranked second on the team with 54 goals and 21 assists this year. The 2008 Liberty League Player of the Year was named to the NCAA Division III championships all-tournament team after the Continentals won the first national team title in school history. She captured First Team All-America honors in 2007 and 2008. Tetreault graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemistry on May 25.
Hamilton women's lacrosse set team records for wins (21) and consecutive victories (19) in a season. The Continentals (21-1 overall) were making their fourth appearance in the NCAA tournament. Hamilton boasts back-to-back Liberty League regular season and tournament crowns.
Tetreault is Hamilton's first Academic All-American since diver Mike Salmon '06 made the men's at-large team in 2006, and the first student-athlete from the College on the first team since 1996. Eight Hamilton student-athletes have earned a total of nine selections since the Academic All-America program began in 1952.
The at-large category includes 13 varsity sports sponsored by the NCAA: Bowling, crew, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, swimming, tennis and water polo. Tetreault was a second team all-district pick for schools in New York and New England in 2007.
Student-athletes need to meet several eligibility requirements to be considered for the academic All-America team. The student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) for her career. No athlete is eligible until she has reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at her current institution.
Friday, June 13, 2008
We have the perfect items for summer reading from sports and fitness to strength training and nutrition. Simply enter E4918 into the promo code box when you check out to receive your discount on all the products that you place in the shopping cart.
Below is just a sampling of the wide variety of resources available. There are only 3 days left to save, so visit our Web site today.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I am sure they must have banned the use of Youtube, Myspace and facebook in some executive ruling...but now they see the use of a free, paradigm shifting tool.
I wonder if college coaches send video messages this way to recruits? I would if I worked at schools with small recruiting budgets (most of them!)...
The Days of Nike paying to fly recruits to Oregon in a private jet with the BIG Green Hummer on the tarmac are over! Click here to see what I mean
Anyhow - all things come full circle, don't they...
Did you think you had to worry about the guy in Antigua, when you had your eye on a roster spot in Quincy IL?
Usually we write about athletic recruiting and topics related to athletes. But college coaches and marine recruiters have similiar jobs!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
My old school's first ever team national championship!
Slide show http://www.hamilton.edu/Athletics/LacrosseChampionship/slideshow.html
Pretzel City is timing two 5ks this Sat, BOTH which qualify for our MEGA-EASY-AWARD alert. One is smack dab in the middle of Montgomery Co, the other is just East of the Bucks Co line. Read the details of each below, in the words of each race director:
Worcester, PA (Montco) 5k:
8th Annual Worcester Vol. Fire Dept 5K Run/Walk...this Saturday. Registration ON-LINE open until Thursday Midnight. Race day registration begins @ 7:30......5K begins @ 9 AM. Additional details http://www.worcesterfd.com/
First of all Worcester..pronounced War-ces-ter..not Wor-ches-ter or Wis-ter for my friends in Massachusetts. Minutes from King of Prussia/Blue Bell (route 202), Lansdale (Merck), 5 miles from 422 Oaks exit. http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl
22 registered so far for 40 awards!!! (Wawa Gift cards and gift certs to area running stores) + free giveaways. So easy to win an award even Ron Horn can win !!!
Flat and fast course. New runners and walkers..make Worcester your first race!
Help us PAY for our NEW FIRE HOUSE. All of the fire trucks will be used on course (water spray) Kids can get in the fire trucks ...take pictures. All kids race participants receive an ice cream voucher @ MerryMead Farms....1 mile from fire station. Huge playground next to fire station…..great to entertain the family while runners are on course. Register now…our fire house needs your financial support…thanks !!
Fire Fighter & Fellow Runner….Tom McGinley
Frenchtown, NJ Go, Daddy, Go (and Mommy too) 5k:
(app on www.pretzelcitysports.com)
Looking to set a PR in your next 5k and maybe win an award as well???? Run the Go Daddy Go 5K this Sat at Kingwood Park which is located 3 miles east of Frenchtown, NJ. The course is a flat, wheel measured out and back cinder packed trail that meanders thru the woods along the Lockatong Creek. When you enter back into the park you will do a loop in the park which will be extremely exciting and motivating because all your family and friends will be able to cheer you on.
RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE ABOUT 40 ENTRIES FOR 40 AWARDS!!! Our pre registration list consists of seasoned runners to first timers, we will have local cross country teams and encourage local running clubs to pass the word around and join us in this great race.
There will be overall male and female winner trophies as well as age group awards. The race will be followed by a 2 Mile Fun run/walk and a ½ mile kids fun run and plenty of food and refreshments.
The park has jungle gyms, soccer fields, softball fields, picnic tables- there will be something for the whole family to enjoy! Have fun at the park and then enjoy the surrounding towns like Frenchtown, Lambertsville, New Hope and Peddler's Village. Look forward to seeing you there!
Lastly, don't forget the always wonderful Smith's Challenge All Male 10k Trail Run in Lancaster on Sunday. This is the race that taught me how to play in the mud again, after some 30+ years of giving it up. After I finished, i said, "I just GOTTA have one of these in Reading!" And the rest is history!
Strength Training is Essential to a Leaner You
Ever say to yourself, "I am doing three days per week of cardiovascular exercise and eating the same, but I'm still gaining weight!" Keep reading to see how you can get the results you are looking for.
The key to leaning out is to increase your metabolism and firm up. Most people think, "If I just sweat through cardiovascular exercise, I will melt the fat off." Not so fast. You will definitely improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn calories, but this alone will not give you a toned and sculpted body.
You need strength training to increase your muscle to fat percentage. This can only be done through resistance conditioning. Through moderate weight training 2-3 times a week, you can expect to increase your strength by 30 to 50 percent!
Everyone needs to understand some of the basic benefits of strength training:
1. Burn calories
2. Increase lean muscle (Which burns calories all day and takes us less space then fat.)
3. Help your body fight gravity by exhibiting good posture.
It is a fact that every pound of muscle on your body burns between 30 and 50 calories a day - even when you're sleeping. Every pound of fat burns only 2 to 5 calories.
Researchers at Tufts University in Massachusetts found that people who strength trained for 12 weeks and increased their muscle mass by just 3 pounds could eat 15 percent more calories - that's about 300 calories a day for an average woman - without gaining an ounce. They also lost fat pounds in the process. Over time, these muscle-metabolism gains can add up to major fat losses.
Also important to understand is that muscle weighs more than fat tissue. If you don't have a lot of weight to lose but need to firm up, you may not see much of a decrease in scale weight (if any). The weight loss is more of a factor in the individuals that are 20+ pounds overweight. You will look and feel better, with others noting how you "look different, younger, and more healthy."
How Can Train Boston Help?
The easy solution is to start a safe, effective strength conditioning program right here at Train Boston. We offer the area's leading training system, in a cost-effective group training program, called Total Body Conditioning or simply TBC. With TBC you will participate in a program that will give you a full body work out in a six day rotation. You'll firm up, lean out, and recapture that youthful feeling.
Why an Arc Trainer beats the Elliptical - I saw this at www.trainboston.comUnlike an ellipcital, the Cybex Arc Trainer's unique pattern of motion promotes balanced loading of the hip and knee to deliver the most effective and efficient possible workout. These machines allow our clients to build muscle and burn calories at the samet ime. An arc trainer can do more for the body in 20 minutes then most other machines can do in 45 minutes. So, next time you are in the cardio room don't be afraid to try something new, step on the Arc Trainer and see what it can do for you.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The Athlete’s Kitchen
• Eating an energy bar just 15 minutes before you exercise is as effective as eating it an hour before. Grabbing fuel as you rush to your workout is a good idea that gets put to use.
• Natural sports snacks, like a granola bar or banana, offer a variety of sugars. But engineered foods might offer just one type of sugar. Because different sugars use different transporters to get into muscle cells, eating a variety of sugars enhances energy availability. In a 62 mile (100 km) time trial, cyclists who consumed two sugars (glucose + fructose) completed the course in 204 minutes; those who had just glucose took an 16 additional minutes. The bottom line: eat a variety of foods with a variety of sugars during endurance exercise, such as sports drinks, tea with honey, gummi bears....
• Salty pre-exercise foods such as chicken noodle soup can make you thirsty and encourage you to drink more. This can reduce the risk of becoming dehydrated during hot weather.
• A survey of 263 endurance athletes indicates they understand the importance of recovery after a hard workout. But they don’t know what to eat. They believe protein is the key to recovery. Wrong. Carbohydrate should really be the fundamental source of recovery fuel. Or better yet, enjoy a foundation of carbs with a little protein ...Chocolate milk!
• When exhausted cyclists were given a choice of recovery drinks, they all enjoyed—and tolerated well—the chocolate and vanilla milks, more so than water, sports drink or watery chocolate drink. Chocolate milk is familiar, readily available_and tastes good!
• How long do elite soccer players need to recover from a game? In one study, they needed five days for sprinting ability to return to pre-game level. That's four days longer than most athletes allow...
• How many calories does a triathlete burn during the Hawaii Ironman? Using labeled water, researchers determined a 173 lb (78.6 kg) man burned 9,290 calories. Body water turnover was about 4 gallons (16.5 L), and weight dropped 7.5%. Muscle glycogen dropped by 68%.
• Fatigue is related to not only glycogen depletion and dehydration but also to body temperature higher than 104º F (40° C). Try to keep cool when exercising in hot weather!
• Have you ever wondered how long it takes for the water you drink to end up as sweat? Only 10 minutes (in trained cyclists). Ingested fluid moves rapidly, so don’t hesitate to keep drinking even towards the end of an event.
• Should an endurance athlete choose a sports drink with protein? The research is confusing, due to different protocols (time trials vs. endurance tests). Plus, in most research studies the subjects have nothing to eat before the exercise tests—an unlikely situation for most endurance athletes. Hence, we need more “real life” research. Until then, plan to eat carbs with a little protein pre-exercise—cereal with milk, a cup of yogurt—so the protein will be available, if needed. During exercise, choose a sports drink that tastes good, so you’ll want to consume enough.
• Some endurance athletes do perform better with protein during exercise. For example, when given carbs or carbs + protein during an endurance exercise test, those who were “high responders” to the protein performed about 10% better in the time trial at the end of the endurance test, as compared to the “low responders”. This is just one example of how each athlete has his or her individual response to different fuels during exercise. The best bet: Experiment during training to learn what sports drinks/foods settles best, tastes good and works well for you personally!
• A Norwegian study of elite endurance athletes indicates 73% took vitamin supplements. Little did they realize their diet provided the recommended nutrient intake without the pills. The vitamin intake of the pill takers was even higher—135% to 391% of recommended levels. Two exceptions were Vitamin D (low in 22% of the athletes; perhaps due to the fact they live in Norway and have less sunshine) and iron (low in 10% of the women). The researchers remind us that high intakes can have toxic effects and may be detrimental to health over time. The best bet is to eat your vitamins via healthy foods.
• Coaches encourage football players to be big—but what is the long term cost? A survey of former college players indicates a high rate of obesity and associated health problems.
•The “freshman fifteen” pounds gained in the first year of college may be an exaggeration. Among a group of 40 female college freshman, half gained and half lost weight (~4 to 5 lbs) Excess calories from specialty coffees and soda contributed to the weight gain. Watch out for liquid calories!
• If kids are going to play video games, they might as well play active ones such as Wii Boxing, Wii Tennis or Dance Dance Revolution. These burn two to three times the calories as traditional hand held games 1417, 2443
• If you read ultra-fit magazines when you are exercising, you'll likely feel more anxious and depressed then if you read Oprah or no magazine. Take note: the models’ “perfect bodies” are altered to look leaner and more glamorous.
•Women who exercise experience an increase in the hormones that stimulate appetite; men have less of a response. This means women tend to get hungry after exercise and have a harder time with weight reduction than do me. Science finally validates what women have known all along!
• Lightweight rowers commonly get rib stress fractures. In their efforts to maintain a light weight, many rowers undereat, lose their menstrual period, and end up with low bone mineral density. Even after rowers with menstrual dysfunction retired from their sport, their bone density remained low, suggesting the effects might be irreversible. Light weight athletes should consult with a sports dietitian for professional guidance on how to healthfully lose weight and maintain the low weight. (For a local referral, see www.SCANdpg.org.)
• Athletes with eating disorders are known to over-exercise. If they get admitted into an eating disorders recovery program, they often are not allowed to exercise (for health reasons). This can be very upsetting. Yet, a study with patients with eating disorders who did 10 weeks of supervised strength training as a part of their recovery achieved higher bone mineral density and muscular strength. The exercise generated positive physical and psychological benefits.
• If you have “healthy genes”, you still need to exercise to be able to gain access to the potential good health you inherited. There’s no slouching when it comes to prolonging life!
Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels both casual and competitive athletes in her practice at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill MA (617-383-6100). Her NEW 2008 Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Food Guide for Marathoners, and Cyclist’s Food Guide are available via www.nancyclarkrd.com. See also sportsnutritionworkshop.com.
Monday, June 09, 2008
By PEGGY O'HARECopyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Saturday, June 07, 2008
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April 2008: Ockham’s Razor
Get out your Latin phrase books, Groovy Readers. I want to share with you my favorite tenet of the reductionist philosophy of nominalism: “Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatum.” In other words, “All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.” You probably already know this phrase as Ockham’s Razor (also spelled as Occam’s Razor).
A 14-th century English logician and Franciscan friar named William of Ockham gets the credit for this observation that the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible. This principle is often expressed as the lex parsimoniae, or the law of parsimony or law of succinctness. In other words, "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.” Sadly, all too often, most of us feel that “more is better.”
We supersize our meals, overtrain ourselves to injury, and gulp down twenty vitamins when three would do. Why do we tend to complicate things for ourselves, when we can see that “nature does not employ two instruments where one suffices,” as Thomas Aquinas said? Why not simplify? I would like to propose three ways to Ock-ify your life.
We all complain of overwhelming stress and too much to do and too little time. So here is a perfect opportunity to streamline.
1. GIVE YOURSELF ONE DAY OFF PER WEEK. Don’t you have enough to do and worry about during the week? It’s OK to ease up on yourself once in a while. Why not give yourself one day a week not to exercise, to eat whatever you want, to turn off your brain from its relentless whip-cracking. Cut yourself some slack and be OK with mellow. In the big picture, the rest you give yourself will pay off much bigger than any workout or dessert-skipping ever will.
2. LET GO OF THE SMALL BATTLES. Often times, we type A’s feel that we have to have control over every situation, win every battle, follow every plan to the letter. But in actuality, Mother Nature bats last. She has the last word, not us. So even if you WANT to be in control of everything, it’s not even possible anyway! So let go of the smaller items that really don’t mean anything in the big picture. Save your energy and your passion to fight the battles that really matter.
3. DO THE RIGHT THING, DO THE THING RIGHT. I have said this one before, but it bears repeating. Trying shortcuts and cutting corners doesn’t always work out the way you want. Often times, you have to go back and fix stuff anyway. And in the case of health and wellness, trying a diet pill or doing 8-minute abs in the hopes of looking like a supermodel just shortchanges you of nutrition and real fitness.
So take your time, do it right, you can do it, baby (apologies to the S.O.S. Band). Simplicity is the key to the championship, honestly. Give yourself a month to try streamlining, and see if you don’t feel a little weight lifted off your shoulders. Happy Spring, everyone!
Friday, June 06, 2008
Eight College-Savings Myths
Saving is not a bad thing
By Joanna Woodworth
In 2007, according to the College Board, the average financial aid package totaled $9,500 covering 43% of tuition, fees, and room and board for one year at the average four-year college, public or private.1 This underscores the need for families to save in a dedicated college savings account to supplement the remaining costs. However, 60% of parents think that if they save too much toward their child's future education that it could negatively affect their child's chances of receiving financial aid.2 And that is just one myth about saving for college. Here are the other seven.
Myth 1: Saving in a 529 plan will affect my child's eligibility to receive financial aid This is one of the more common myths with regards to 529 college savings plans. According to the federal financial aid formula, parent-owned assets are assessed at approximately 5%, compared with 20% of the child's assets. In actuality, investing in a 529 plan will have a relatively small impact on financial aid because those assets are considered those of the parent, not the child. Furthermore, other savings accounts, such as an UGMA/UTMA, where assets are considered those of the child or beneficiary, tend to have a greater affect on financial aid.
Myth 2: I shouldn't risk investing my money in a college savings account when the market is so volatile No one has the ability to predict how the market is going to perform from day to day, and trying to time the ups and downs of the market is generally a bad strategy. One approach is to use the time-tested investment strategy of dollar cost averaging. Basically, instead of investing money all at once, you can contribute a set amount to a 529 plan at regular intervals. Anyone who is investing a set amount on a regular basis, like monthly contributions to a 529 plan, is utilizing dollar cost averaging -- and helping to smooth out the swings -- so ultimately more shares are purchased when prices are low and fewer when prices are high.3
Myth 3 : I'll lose control over the assets in a 529 plan if my child decides not to attend college If a child or beneficiary chooses not to attend college, the parent or account owner is able to change the beneficiary to another eligible family member of the original beneficiary. As well, the account owner may choose to use the assets toward financing their own education. Furthermore, 529 plans give the account owner more control of the assets than custodial accounts, such as an UGMA/UTMA, where the beneficiary takes control of the assets once they turn 18 years old.
Myth 4: 529 plans offer limited investment options Many 529 plans offer a wide variety of investment options to choose from, which may include strategies, custom strategies, or static portfolio strategies. Additionally, once you select a strategy, you can often select from actively managed portfolios or index portfolios. While you're only allowed to reallocate previously invested contributions and earnings among portfolios once per calendar year for a given beneficiary, 529 plans allow the flexibility to change the investment allocation of future contributions at any time.4
Myth 5: I don't have enough money to open a 529 plan Even though requirements vary by plan, there are 529 plans that allow you to open an account with a minimum initial investment of $50 or even as low as $15 per month with an automatic investment plan.
Myth 6: I don't want to limit my child's college options by having to invest in my state-sponsored 529 plan All 529 plans are open to residents of any state and the account can be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses, including tuition, books, and room and board at most accredited two- and four-year colleges and universities nationwide and at eligible foreign institutions.
Myth 7: The contribution limits of 529 plans won't allow me to save enough for college Contribution limits for each beneficiary in many 529 plans are $300,000 or more, and while tuition rates continue to rise, parents who start to save early and regularly in a 529 plan may significantly increase their ability to meet future college costs. Considering the average cost of a private four-year college for the 2007-08 school year reached $32,307, an increase of 5.9% from the previous academic year5, the cost of waiting to save may force a college-bound student to rely more heavily on student loans or other means to supplement costs.
Myth 8: You can get a better return on your investments if you create your own portfolio of funds versus savings in a 529 plan While it is hard to predict future investment returns, there are several benefits to investing in a 529 plan account versus a general mutual fund account for instance, that may be earmarked for college savings. For example, investing in 529 plans can help prevent random withdrawals for day-to-day expenses or financial emergencies, such as home improvements, car repair, travel, or even retirement. As well, with a dedicated 529 plan account it is easy to establish a college savings goal up front and keep track of the progress against that goal, so that when the time comes to pay for college expenses, you know exactly how much you can cover and how much you may need to finance.
In addition, 529 plans are one of the best ways to save for future college costs because of their tax benefits. For example, 529 plans allow for earnings to grow tax-deferred and withdrawals from these accounts are permanently federal income tax-free for qualified higher education expenses, such as tuition, and room and board, as well as, books and supplies. Furthermore, because of their tax-advantaged status, 529s have greater potential to compound earnings when compared to taxable alternatives and therefore may leave you with more money for college. For instance, if a parent saves for college via such taxable alternatives as certificates of deposits (CDs), stocks, or a traditional bank savings account, the earnings of those investments may be taxed by as much as 30%.
How Fidelity can help Learn more about 529 plans.
(Please e-mail any comments to Investor's Weekly at Investors.Weekly@fmr.com.)
1. Trends in Student Aid 2007, College Board.
2. College Savings Indicator Research, Fidelity Investments, 2007.
3. Keep in mind that dollar cost averaging does not assure a profit or protect against a loss in declining markets. For the strategy to be effective, you must continue to purchase shares both in market ups and downs.
4. The IRS does not allow participants to have direct or indirect control over the investments in a 529 account.
5. Trends in College Pricing 2007, College Board.
Units of 529 Portfolios are municipal securities and subject to market volatility and fluctuation. Different asset allocations offer different balances between risk and potential returns. Generally, the greater the stock allocation, the greater the potential for long-term returns and the greater the risk of volatility, especially over the short term. Conversely, the greater the allocation to bonds and/or short-term investments, the lower the potential for high long-term returns but the lower the short-term risks.