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Cirque Du Soleil: No Scary Clowns!

[ Sunday, June 21, 2015 | 0 comments ]
By Jaime Travis

As we were making our way to the great circus tent that had risen up high over the Pepsi Center parking lot, I did my best to convince our 8 year old son, Jack, that no run of the mill "scary or creepy clowns" (my apologies to the clown lovers in the crowd) would be allowed to traipse unencumbered amongst the crowd. I did, however, neglect to mention to him that there would in fact be- a whole lot of French-Canadian acrobats decked out in their Steampunk finest- twisting and contorting in only the way a Cirque du Soleil performer can do. Added up, it promised to be a winning afternoon!

And it was. Cirque Du Soleil's newest show, Kurios, is one of the best incarnations of the storied franchise, and is absolutely an enchanting and charming romp. My 5 year old daughter, Lucca, could not contain her enthusiasm and stood and danced along to much of the show.  The music is reminiscent of 1930's French cabaret and the musicians, who perform live, are top-notch.  But, truly any Cirque show is marked by the mind-bogglingly talented acrobats whose death-defying feats never fail to thrill.  In particular, the a host of astonishingly high leapers that open the second act, who seem to defy gravity in their fishing-net like trampoline.  There is also a wonderfully simple "Theater of Hands" which consists of live video, projected onto an old-fashioned hot-air balloon, of the exquisitely adept and dancerly hands of members of the troop performing with props and on an audience member’s head.  Kurios is playing at the Big Top through July 26th.  Tickets start at just $40.  It promises to be a joyful and entertaining show and guarantees to please.  

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Eight Mistakes Parents Make around College Planning

[ Tuesday, June 16, 2015 | 0 comments ]
By Stapleton Resident, Scott Cody

1. No Overall Game Plan. Many clients we sit down with have done a realistic plan and      projection of what the real cost of college education is going to be for their children. With today’s software, you can actually go college by college (in state vs. out of state) to calculate the cost of college education. Are you looking at private school? Public school? In state? Out of state? Inflation adjustment? All of these are just a sampling of questions to help you figure out how much it is going to cost for college education, how much you need to save today, and what after-tax rate of return your money is going to need to earn to help you reach the goals you plan to achieve to give your children financial support. www.savingforcollege.com is just one website to go through this type of exercise.  

2.  Choosing Right College Savings Account. There are many different vehicles today for saving money for college education. Once you have built an overall game plan within your financial plan, you should have a better idea on exactly which college savings plan makes sense for you. Should you take out the popular 529 plan? It is a good idea to a Coverdell IRA? Perhaps taking a look at the notion of doing an UGMA or an UTMA? There are various other methods including Savings Bonds, Roth IRA’s, and Life Insurance. You need to clearly look at the tax ramifications of each plan, cost, investment choices, and more to determine which one is right for you. Making the wrong decision here can be a disastrous mistake.  

3.  Not Matching Your Investments to Your Time Horizon. Most people we meet for the first time, truly don’t understand the how the money is being invested for your children’s education. More importantly, a big mistake we see is not matching the time frame of those investments to the type of investment where the money is located. A great example of this is seeing parents whose child is going to college in one year, yet 100% of the money is still invested in the stock market. Many parents felt this pain a few years ago when the stock market crashed, and are now having to experience finding other alternatives on where to come up with money to pay for college. Each year that draws closer, the overall balance of stocks and bonds should become more conservative. If you don’t have an appropriate time frame (recommended at more than 5 years) you may not want to consider being in the stock market with college education money due to the risks involved.  

4.  Underestimating Inflation on College Tuition. With normal inflation rates historically being in the 3% range, college education costs have been in the 5% to 6% range which is double normal inflation. At 6% inflation, this means the cost of college will literally double every 12 years. This is where parents may want to consider plans such as Prepaid Tuition Plans or other vehicles that may allow you to keep pace with that rising inflation. You need to consider carefully the pros and cons of these plans, but this is a major miscalculation when most parents do goal setting for saving for their kid’s education.  

5.  Using Your Retirement Account to Pay for College. This is up at the top of the list of the biggest mistakes I see parents make when it comes to paying for college. In general, I believe it is a big mistake to sacrifice your retirement for your kid’s college education. It can become even more of a financial wreck if you get involved in taking loans from your 401k plan or other type (s) of retirement plans. This can cause a major hiccup in the time value of money in your own retirement account, and can be very difficult to recover in the later years of your life.  

6.  Raising the Expected Family Contribution. With so much hitting a parent’s household around college education, it is important to keep a close eye on the calculations around the expected family contribution. The EFC is really around how much of your income and savings you’ll need to spend before financial aid will kick in for you. Seeing where your income is going to be, how assets are titled, and what other assets you are going to sell are serious considerations around these calculations. Make sure you understand what counts for your name and your kids name when it comes to what assets you will have to use for college. 

7.  File FAFSA Annually In January And Research Your Ability For Federal And State Aid. Two-thirds of all full-time undergraduate students receive some kind of financial aid, so odds are you are eligible, too. The federal government has a formula that determines the amount your family is expected to contribute to your college costs. Any costs above that have a chance to be covered by financial aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is required to be considered for federal student aid. It can also be requiredby colleges, state agencies, and some scholarships. Complete the FAFSA for the first time as early as you can during the spring semester of your senior year of high school and every year thereafter that you are in college. The new FAFSA form is updated and available each year in January, and the sooner you apply, the better your chances are to receive the maximum amount of financial aid for which you are eligible. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov for more information. (from the Sallie Mae website)  

8.  Not Setting Realistic Expectations with Your Kids. No matter which path you set out with your kids around college, be realistic about what is affordable in your family budget. You should also be clear around things such as whether they will have to get a job while going to school, what you can afford if anything around spending money at school, and what your household can afford overall. While a 4 year private school may be the dream school for your child, the cost of a 4 year public school may be more than what your house can afford. Make sure they know what you can realistically help them out with so they can plan their future for the next four years. The more clearly you set expectations, the better the journey will be in college. 

If you’d like to talk to us about college education planning or overall financial planning, please contact Latitude Financial Group at 720-881-8742 or visit us at www.stapletonadvisor.com. 
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Family Road Trip Ideas

[ Thursday, June 11, 2015 | 0 comments ]
That wonderful spring/summer vacation time is here. Here are a few ideas for modest budget escapes within a 2 or 4 hour drive of Denver.They all offer something unexpected in our passionate pursuit of the good life in adventure, arts, activities and food.

2 Hour Drive
Drive south or west, and in only two hours you’ll find new places to explore!

For more travel ideas, as well as news and reviews of restaurants, theater and movies, visit http://ingoodtastedenver.com/. 
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[ Wednesday, May 27, 2015 | 0 comments ]

Event Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Stapleton's Green Book,
the Community's Founding Principles

WHAT:  Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Green Book with a fun-filled morning exploring Stapleton's most notable landmarks. The Stapleton Foundation has created a FREE Scavenger Hunt for families, individuals and friends with two distinct routes: one for walkers and one for bikers.

Participants who complete the Scavenger Hunt will be entered to win various
prizes including gift cards to Stapleton businesses and two exciting Grand Prizes: a Family Four-Pack to Frozen on Ice and a new Cruiser Bike.

Entertainment, snacks and refreshments will be offered throughout the
morning. Bikes available for rent as well as bike valet will also be provided.

WHEN: The event will be held Saturday, June 13.
9 a.m. to 10 a.m.         Registration
12 p.m.                        All completed games must be submitted
12:30 p.m.                   Prizes drawn and winners announced

WHERE: The Scavenger Hunt will begin at Fred Thomas Park, located at

HOW: Participants are encouraged to register by June 10 at:

WHY: In 2015, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of "The Green Book," the
seminal document that envisioned what could and should happen to the
seven square miles of the former Stapleton Airport. This Stapleton Master Development Plan was published in partnership with the Citizens Advisory Board and the City and County of Denver.

INFO: For more information, visit www.stapletondenver.com/scavenger-hunt

 Please direct any interview or photo requests to:

Sprocket Communications | 303.495.2883

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Session Kitchen's Monday Funday Saves the Day

[ Friday, May 8, 2015 | 0 comments ]
Chef Parker of Session Kitchen’s gets it. He understands what it's like to have made it (barely) through a Monday only to realize you don't have anything planned for dinner. Yet you want to have a good and healthy meal with the family. That's why he created "Monday Funday," with a fixed-price menu for $45.It's a multi-course dinner for four or five (depending on appetites). The deal doesn't have to only be for two adults and two kids - any combination of people is fine including all-adults (because you may *gasp* need a night away from the kids on a Monday). 

The meal is served family-style (pass the pickles, please) and the menu changes monthly. One month, it was fried chicken and all the fixin’s. We visited in April when the meal started with out-of-this-world pork belly steamed buns with arugula and some awesome BBQ sauce, bread and butter pickles, sweet chile slaw with cabbage and fennel and a big pot of meaty smoked shiitake mushrooms with cabbage and other goodies. The main entree was a really big pot of noodles in a rich, beefy broth, vegetables and chunks of very tender steak on top.

I had two teenagers with me, one of whom is the pickiest eater this side of the Mississippi. This “buttered-noodles-only” kid gobbled up everything. Everything! I think it was the hip atmosphere, great-looking and great-smelling food that just enticed him. Four of us ate really well and still had enough to bring home for another meal. At $45, it’s a heck of a deal and a great way to make Monday a day to look forward to.
We love Session Kitchen anyway (read about our past experiences there). Monday Funday just gives us an extra reason to go. Visit Session Kitchen’s website for details or call to find out what the monthly menu is for Monday Funday. We're told May's meal is on a Greek theme with pickled chickpeas/olives, fried green tomato fattoush salad, Greek yogurt and roasted sliced lamb gyros, oregano vinaigrette and dill tzatziki sauce. 

For more news and reviews of restaurants, theater, movies and travel in Denver and beyond, visit http://ingoodtastedenver.com/
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