The Maryland 529 plan seems to still be in turmoil; apparently they did some miscalculating and are claiming that some people have too much money in their accounts.

Maryland 529 told families two years ago they would earn 6 percent on balances held before Oct. 31, 2021, because of excess earnings from the trust. But the agency said it erroneously applied the formula in a way that inflated the values of accounts between November 2021 and April 2022.

There isn’t a whole lot of information coming from the Plan, which has made some lawmakers very upset.

A spokesperson for the AG’s office said it was “currently advising the 529 plan in addressing the challenges they are facing.” State auditors were already set to examine whether the agency had addressed management problems raised in a 2019 report, and said the latest calculation issue would also be part of the review.

Date posted: January 30, 2023 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Fucking fantastic. We have a chunk of savings set aside for Finn’s education in something called the Maryland Prepaid College Trust. It’s a vehicle that lets us lock tuition costs in at the time of contribution, with the state basically assuming any risk of inflation. Sounds good, right?

Turns out there’s been some shenanigans with the system, and a bunch of people haven’t been able to access their funds:

According to the Maryland Prepaid College Trust, trouble in the prepaid plan surfaced shortly after the trust transitioned program management from an in-house team to a third-party vendor, Intuition College Savings Solutions, in November 2021.

They held a board meeting that went extremely poorly last night, where they were required by law to tell the public and let us attend, but basically called roll and then went into a closed session without providing any update. They’ve been evasive and shitty about this for months, apparently, and this erodes all of the trust I have in the program. I had to look at our account two weeks ago for something unrelated, and all of the money we invested was there at that point, but fuck’s sake, this is scary. That money is a sizeable investment for our family. If it were to disappear for some reason, that would set us back years.

Date posted: December 21, 2022 | Filed under money | Leave a Comment »

In today’s day and age, it’s nice to see rich white crooks going to jail. Elizebeth Holmes, the crook who swindled millions from other rich people, was sentenced to 11 years in the slammer.

Her partner Billy Evans, in his sentencing memo to the court, told the judge that he fears for “a future in which my son grows up with a relationship with his mother on the other side of glass armed by guards”.

Yup, nobody wants that, but it happens every day to non-white people in America who don’t have the casual ability to just drop out of Stanford to start a company and defraud investors.

Date posted: November 18, 2022 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Thanks to Seth Godin, this is the is the first reasonable explanation of NFTs that I’ve read so far; all of the mainstream coverage I’ve seen has been the confused dad/clickbait headline variety, much like coverage of Bitcoin continues to be. Yet another scam, made by people trying to sell scarcity.

Date posted: March 24, 2021 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

“In my mind, it’s been in maintenance mode the last eight years,” says Aaron Patzer, the founder of Mint who accepted Intuit’s offer, found himself tasked with improving Quicken, and then left the company in 2012.

I used Mint for several years and found it super-helpful for a top-level overview of finances and money flows. Fast Company does a little shallow digging into why it’s stalled out.

Date posted: January 23, 2020 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »


After all of the activity last weekend, this one is quiet in relief. We dicked around the house for most of yesterday, working with the dog at her second behavioral class, and she did pretty well. She was attentive and well behaved, and the trainer was kind enough to stay and talk with Jen for 45 minutes after class while I walked her out back.

To be perfectly honest, it’s been a struggle to make a decision about what we’re going to do with her. We made a pro/con list last weekend that came out pretty evenly on both sides, and she had a really good couple of days with us. Then there were a couple of days that went to absolute shit and we all sat up on Friday night talking about it and mostly agreeing that we were going to send her back. Saturday morning we had a change of heart and we’re back to square one.

I don’t want this to sound like we’re a family of dilletantes. Jen and I are dog people. We grew up with dogs, we know dogs, we’re not afraid of the responsibility of dogs. We know what it means to have a dog.


I’ve settled into the routine of walking her in the morning and evening, and as much as I’ve never been a morning person, I like being out when the rest of the world is still sleeping, smelling the dew on the grass, feeling the first chill of fall in the air, and following Hazel as she wanders the neighborhood following her nose. Jen and I get some time to talk with each other, and the exercise doesn’t hurt. When she’s chill, she’s a wonderful dog to be with. What we’re struggling with is her social anxiety, and prey drive. She’s a nervous little girl who is paralyzed by loud noises and flashing lights she doesn’t recognize, and kind of a dick around other dogs after a while.

She’s a smaller dog (although she’s gained five pounds and an inch and a half in a month’s time) so she has a need to meet every dog she sees, but when she shifts into play mode she doesn’t know how to stop. She’ll run and jump and nip and bark, but when the other dog backs off she keeps going, and when they tell her to stop (usually by giving her a solid chomp or, as happened this past week, by knocking her over and putting her in a choke hold with their teeth) she doesn’t take the hint—she keeps going. She’ll continue jumping on them, nipping and barking, and we’ve got to step in and separate them.

We don’t have the DNA tests back yet, so we don’t know what flavor of breed soup we’re dealing with. She’s definitely got some hound in her, because she follows her nose whenever we’re out with her. There’s a fair bit of terrier mixed in, because she loves to dig (god help us). There’s some working dog in her, because her legs are long and she’s built like someone put a full-sized Vizsla in a shrink-ray set to Half Size. The prey drive of the terrier is what worries us. There’s a split-personality thing going on where the super-bright part of her brain knows that our cats are off limits. When we bring her inside and she sees them, she’s now at the point where she’ll sit down on her own and wait for them to cautiously saunter over and look at her. She gets fidgety, and we can see one half of her brain thinking YOU ARE MY SIZE! LET’S PLAY while the other side is saying IF I CHOMP THEM, THE HUMANS WILL DESTROY ME. She’ll get close to them, and the cats will smack her in the face a bunch of times, and she’ll back off. Then she’ll wiggle up to them again, they’ll whack her on the nose a few more times, and she’ll back off again. This continues until the cats nope themselves out.

The problem is that when the cats tear ass at high speed, the prey instinct in her brain destroys all rational thought and all that’s left is I MUST CHEW THAT RUNNING ANIMAL IMMEDIATELY. It’s this dichotomy that has us worried, because we don’t know if it’s ever going to work itself out in a favorable way. The cats are understandably upset; Trixie has gained several pounds in the last month and Nox looks noticeably frazzled. They’re not getting the attention they need and we feel horrible. We’ve read horror stories about Jack Russell terriers getting along amicably with cats for several years and then one day it’s the hallway scene from The Shining. This, and the reaction to other dogs, is what has us up at night.

So we’re in a holding pattern, and she’s snoring peacefully on Jen’s lap in an anxiety sweater.

* * *

When I was in college I applied for and got a credit card, because, why not? At first I was very careful with it, but as those things often do, it crept up on me. A couple of years out of school I was running a balance of $4,000 and struggling to pay down the interest. This continued for a couple of years until I upgraded my job situation and then I made a mission out of paying it off. Once that was done I put the card in a drawer and rewired my brain to only buy with the cash in my checking account, and used my debit card exclusively. That was about 20 years ago, and I haven’t had a credit card since then.

You know where this is going, right?

Apple just came out with the Apple Card and I signed up for it. A couple of days later a very small package appeared in the mail and I opened it to find a surprisingly meaty titanium credit card in a small envelope with my name on it. I activated it and put it into my Apple Wallet alongside my debit card, where I can use Apple Pay with my phone or my watch. The plan is to only use it for gas and high-dollar purchases, as I’d like the extra layer of protection against card skimmers and fraud. Plus, the cash back is kind of nice.

Update: be sure to opt out of the arbitration clause.

Date posted: September 8, 2019 | Filed under hazel, money | Leave a Comment »

We got an unexpected happy letter from USAA this afternoon telling us we’ve paid off the Accord completely, and they’ll be sending us the new title in the next couple of weeks. Bonus! There’s an extra $175/mo. we can use for other stuff. Now we own three cars outright: one that’s 8 years old, one that’s 11 years old, and one that’s (I think) 41 years old.

Date posted: October 21, 2017 | Filed under cars, money | Leave a Comment »

Via CNN Money, here’s some helpful info on what to do about the Equifax hack. It’s appalling that something this big happened to so many people and the company responsible is so callous about the fallout. Mom, this one is for you.

Date posted: September 11, 2017 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

The Fed asked respondents how they would pay for a $400 emergency. The answer: 47 percent of respondents said that either they would cover the expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all.

We’ve had an oh-shit fund since before I stopped using credit cards, and it always gets replenished. This was in response to being laid off the first time, back in 2001. But the hits keep coming, and it’s not getting easier to refill the fund. And college tuition is looming on the horizon…

Date posted: April 20, 2016 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Huh. According to this link, I live in the state with the highest median salary required to be “middle class”.

Date posted: April 3, 2015 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »