Sunday, November 06, 2005

Onboard gambling may lead to free flights on Ryanair

This is pretty amazing: the European airline Ryanair made claims that it might offer gambling on its flights and that gambling would generate enough revenues to make flights themselves free. It's hard to say if this is just a publicity stunt or the future of cheap flights.

W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie

I have discovered by accident that Wikipedia has an entry about the Polish poem Chrząszcz which contains the most famous Polish tongue-twister. They even have an audio recording. Even more amazingly they have a whole list of tongue twisters in many languages including quite a few in Polish. I keep being amazed by the breadth of Wikipedia.


529 is a name of a college-savings plan in the US. I don't really know much about them but I've just happened to read an article about them in the Newsweek.
The whole point of using 529 is the fact that you do not pay taxes on investment gains of the money you put in a 529 funds (some states let you even deduct the contributions). This is a little complicated because while you always are free from the federal tax, you have to use your state's 529 plan to avoid the state income tax. The Newsweek article points out that if your state's 529 plan has high fees, it may be better to forgo the state income tax advantage and get a fund with lower fees. Here's a quote from that article on the fees that are common today:
Each state levies a program fee for maintaining the plan. (Under 0.3 percent of
the assets in your account is good. Over 0.5 percent is bad. These fees are
dropping fast.) The mutual-fund companies charge management fees. (Under 0.5
percent is good. Over 0.8 percent is bad.) If you buy from a broker or planner,
you also pay sales commissions (sales costs may be hidden; generally, they're
going up).

California's 529 plan is the Golden State ScholarShare College Savings Trust. So do this plan's fees compare with the Newsweek guidelines on fees? The combined two fees should be under 0.8% and for the ScholarShare they are exactly 0.8% which probably means that if you pay the California state income tax and you plan to invest in a 529, you should choose the ScholarShare.

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