College Planning

College Planning

Planning for College

There are hundreds of resources available to help you plan and pay for college. The web, how-to books, counselors, your friends and family: they all have an opinion on what you should be doing to get your son or daughter into a great school and pay for it. And these days more than ever, the stakes are high! How do you know which to follow? Who has the time to research all those resources and become an expert on college planning? How can you take cookie cutter advice and apply it to your situation?

College funding is a game similar to chess. To become an accomplished chess player, you need to be able to play out in your mind the next several moves to understand options and consequences. We believe you must approach paying for college in a similar fashion. Together, we map out your financial lives for the next 5 to 7 years to model how best to improve your bottom line. Over the course of your son or daughter’s student life, we nimbly modify your financial strategies as your situation evolves and as the college funding rules continue to change. Your unique situation is our starting point for a tailored plan, which is developed to make paying for college as pain free as possible.

Do you know the rules of the game?

We have been helping families play the college planning game for over a decade. Our responsibility is to determine how to make paying for college a reality for your family. Here are some important questions you will have the answers to when working with us.

  • What is your plan to pay for all 4 years of college and still retire comfortably?
  • Do you know how financial aid is calculated?
  • Have you learned about how education credits work?
  • Do you know how aid is calculated differently at private vs public colleges?
  • How will you utilize your savings and/or 529 plans to pay for college?
  • What is the most tax efficient strategy to pay for college based on your situation?

Preparation and guidance makes the difference

Just like building a house, college planning requires a solid foundation. The foundation we build begins with your own personal finances. We take the time to fully understand and analyze your family’s current financial situation and illustrate what your current plan looks like if nothing was modified. We then explore with you different strategies, one by one, that may potentially improve your current plan all the while illustrating how much over the longer term that one change affects your overall plan. We call this proprietary approach scenario planning.  The beauty of scenario planning is that it lets families understand how much making one change can affect the success of their plan.

Cost reduction, scholarships and financial aid

Our goal is to develop customized strategies to reduce your cost of college and increase your chances of getting financial aid. Together, we will develop a plan that will reduce your expenses and help you prosper long-term. With the cost of college increasing 7-15% per year, you will want all the help you can get!

Once your student has been accepted and is going to college! How do you compare one college award against another? We have a matrix that will show you what the true out-of-pocket cost will be. Making an informed decision about such a big purchase is absolutely essential. We will be right there guiding you through your choice with facts relative to you and your financial profile.

An integrated approach

Most of your friends and neighbors will seek advice from a variety of places: fellow parents, guidance counselors, college administrators, CPA’s and financial advisors. Unfortunately, all of these sources will only provide insight from their particular area of expertise. The CPA will provide tax perspective, the investment advisor will provide investment perspective, the college administrator will provide aid perspective and your neighbor will provide their personal experience.

To win the game you need to find a firm that integrates college planning, tax, investment, cash flow and retirement planning expertise. You need a firm that understands how all of these areas work together. Only with all of this expertise can an optimal plan be devised for your family and maximize your chance of winning.

The all-star team

Our firm takes pride in having expertise in all of the necessary disciplines to provide you with college planning guidance. Let us show you how to build a comprehensive, tailored plan for your family to minimize the cost of college and maximize your family’s chance of prospering in the future. Let’s win the game together!

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