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What Nobody Tells You About College Planning

My wife and I live the American dream...a house, two kids, a nice life. We’re both natural planners, so when we started a family, saving for college expenses was always on the horizon.

We invested wisely in real estate...or so we thought.

Just as our two children came of college tuition age, the bottom fell out of the real estate market in 2008, and all of our college savings went with it.

The tuition “nest egg” we worked so hard for was gone.

We found ourselves in a thorny middle ground - we made too much money to qualify for any substantial financial aid. And what the colleges expected us to pay out of pocket (especially for those of us living in areas with high costs of living) just wasn’t feasible.

We weren’t ready to give up on the opportunities for our children, but we weren’t ready to mortgage our entire future either.

They say necessity is the motherhood of invention, and we were forced to change our approach to find a way to make it happen.

Thankfully, I had been a certified financial planner so I was already very comfortable with working with assets, taxes, and liabilities to find the best solution for my clients.

So I went to work learning all the ins and outs of financial aid for families just like ours - making too much money to qualify for significant assistance but not enough that we could truly afford college and all of its expenses.

After that eye opening experience, I decided to move from traditional financial planning to focus solely on college planning. I knew that many friends, colleagues, and neighbors were in the same boat as we were, and they needed specialized advice on how to navigate the college tuition waters.

Here are the lessons I’ve learned about paying for college:

  • Different savings accounts will either help you or hurt you, depending on your income level.

  • There is always a way forward even if you have nothing saved.

  • You can minimize your expenses even if you make “too much money”.

  • It’s important to evaluate the overall “return on investment” as part of the college decision.

  • There are tactics to get more aid out of your child’s top college choice.

  • Each family is different. There is no one size fits all.

Since then, I’ve helped countless families from all ends of the financial spectrum tailor a personalized plan based on their specific situation.

Did you know that:

  • The type of loan you take out one year can affect your financial aid the following year?

  • Sometimes it’s better if you have other savings besides 529 plans?

  • The spacing of your children can actually affect how you save for college?

  • Sometimes a private school can be less expensive than a public school if you apply the right strategy?

There are plenty of services out there that will coach your child on how to get into the school of their choice.

But what about the coaching on how to pay for it?

Every child deserves the opportunity to pursue a college career. But not every family is so independently wealthy that they can pay for it without taking a big hit.

That’s why I created Your College Funding Coach - because you’ve worked hard to give your children the opportunity.

Together, we’ll put together a plan so that your child(ren) can get the maximum college opportunity at the minimum matter what your financial situation is.

Curious to see how you can maximize value and minimize costs? I’m always happy to talk! Let’s connect at or 508-259-3303.

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