The New Scary “C” Word

No… it is not Cancer or COVID, nor is it life threatening at all.  It is college.  It is more of a financial threat and achievement threat than anything else.  I have been working in the college world for almost 2 decades and have seen more families in panic over the expectations of how to pay for college than almost anything else.

Think about what a family has gone through in the past 2 years everything has changed, yet a solution for “how to pay for college” has not materialized.  We have seen a lot of talk about stimulus this and stimulus that- changes to FAFSA, and entrance guidelines for getting into college and so much more.  However, what has not materialized is any substance to set families at ease.  I hear more families talk about loan forgiveness and free college than I have ever heard of.  The election is over, and we still do not have a firm number for what will be forgiven- after all the promising talk during the last election cycle. I love the concept of “It is difficult to get to the Right solution when you start at the wrong premise.”

Let us start at the beginning.  To do this I have 3 questions for you:

1: DO you know that your children will be doing something after High School?

2: DO you know if there is a cost to that next step?

3: DO you know how to pay for it? (For all your children, not just the next one?)

Finally, the proper starting point should be, “What is the RIGHT NEXT STEP for my child?” not who will pay for it because I cannot afford it.  If you are like most families, we come across you answered Yes, Yes and NO.  This is a family issue that should be solved prior to getting into college. This is not a political issue that we should be hoping the government solves.  Let me be very curt- the government is the casino owner- they do not put programs in place to lose, however, the past few decades would create a fun conversation to challenge this.  From a college standpoint they have a huge revenue source in Parent Loans and Student Loans that are secure and not forgivable even in a bankruptcy.  They need this on there books and will use it as a pollical football.  I like to say- if it (college debt forgiveness) happens it is icing on the cake but let us not make that our #1 plan.  You and your family are on the hook for all the debt that you sign up for.  We should just plan to pay for it and know what we can handle with out blowing up our lives financially or “settling” for a low-cost college when a better FIT school is achieved.

College is the new scary “C” word for anyone with precollege children.  It is a problem for over 40 million current loan holders with over $1.6 trillion in total college debt and it is not going to change unless we have a better plan to help families navigate this time in their lives.  College should not be a mountain blocking our view of retirement it should be a speed bump along the way. 

The traditional world focuses on saving your way through the college years, i.e., 529 plans.  We have noticed that most families lack enough annual resources to save enough for the full funding process for all their children.  Again, the premise is not correct.  Who says we should be able to pay for college on our own?  There are about 10 different areas that most families can take advantage of to help pay for college, most only use 3-4: scholarships, cash, parent loans, and student loans.  Sounds like the focus is on what can the family pay and be responsible for.  We should use other people’s money first and help put a strategy in place for each family finding the colleges and universities that are the best fit for your children and allow them to help pay for college.  FAFSA is a crazy formula that is counter intuitive for traditional thinking, it is almost opposite the way most families do tax planning with the IRS rules, which is why most families who feel like they should receive some financial assistances do not receive any.  They show up looking kike they have the ability top pay for college instead of looking like they need help.  It is a personal and custom strategy.   I recommend finding someone who is an expert in this area and getting a custom plan for your family.  I also hear families say things like “our friends make less than us and didn’t get any money” or “I will not have my children anchored with college debt”. 

These are normal thoughts and have contributed to the problem.  We have an interactive presentation for you to enjoy; there is 20+ minutes of content provided here, but families typically spend 8-12 minutes getting answers to their questions. 

I have seen thousand’s of families come across my path, crying and in panic, only to have real hope and a plan that shows them what they should be looking for and were they should be shopping for colleges for their children.  If you knew what your price limit was, you might be able to shop in the right place to put your children in a track of success without having to work until your 75 or eat ramen noodles till you retire.

I would also encourage you to get a book or two- “The Affordable College Plan” is an easy read that has immediate actions that you can take to start gathering other resources outside of what you can save to pay for college.   There are others but this one is easy, and I know the author 😊.

I hope that you have found some hope and found a better way to process this college timeline.  If you have questions, please feel welcome to reach out and ask.  You can visit us on social media platforms with our handle @RCAcommunity. We look forward to seeing how we can help!

The Dis-Ease of Today

The Dis-Ease

of Today

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This current environment has been a true test of our ability to settle on our plans for the future.  Right when we think we can have some consistency we get the rug pulled out from under us.  We have so many places to look for recent examples that I do not want to raise your stress levels and mention them.  However, as it relates to college and the family that is looking to the future for what that looks like, it should not be a stressful time.  Here is why I feel confident to say that.

1-      I have been in the college game for over 15 years and have helped thousands of families navigates the college years with grace.  The issue is not the uncertainty of how college looks a year from now.  It is “How do I PAY for it?”  and that hasn’t changed since the early 1900’s.

2-      NO matter what happens, most families do not want their children putting life on hold because of a new learning environment.  The next step WILL happen.  It is how we prepare for it that makes all the difference!

3-      Colleges and Universities are growing in their empathy for families and the decision process they are going through.  You will see more Socially Responsible solutions come out from this time than you might expect.

4-      Free College is not an option, it is a talking point.  Do not count on it.  That has not changed

5-      There are still over 10 places most families can get help to pay for college, most families can only think of 3- Scholarships, Loans and 529 plans.  That has been a bigger issue for the increased parent and student loan problems than the uncertainty that “virtual learning” has brought to the surface

6-      The value of the education is not diminished for those who need the education.    You will not get a reduced cost for learning your student will receive because it is virtual.  You might get to do some of it at home, but there are still cost to that.  Students still eat, drive, use phone plans, and live.

7-      Most families know what college their son or daughter is going to and do not need help getting in.  they need help PAYING for it.

8-      Finally, most families will need to borrow money for students and parents to achieve the college goal for their students.  It is how you borrow, pay it back, and reduce the amount on the front end that has the largest impact for the families we have seen.

We are just scratching the surface with all of this and I encourage you to find a Certified Specialist in your area to solve the pay for college problem. There are Certified Pay-For-College Specialist all over.  You should not have to pay for the information to learn how to pay for college.  I would also encourage you to check out some videos on YouTube or Facebook by searching “Responsible College Advocates”  or visit to get my new book, The Affordable College Plan: The Responsible Alternative to Free College, to shed some light on the rest of the picture.

I hope this gives you hope for the future and puts things sin perspective.  Those who delay making decisions are often at the mercy of the situation when it arrives.  Act now and get in front of the process.  Have a blessed day! I Hope you enjoy the information and the ideas you can take away from this interactive presentation of The Affordable College Plan!

The Power of Your Dollar

The Power of Your Dollar

Recapturing YOUR Time & YOUR Interest

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Putting Yourself at the Center of Your Repayment Strategy

What does it mean to put yourself at the center of your college loan & debt repayment strategy? Traditional mindsets regarding your debt repayment strategies puts your lenders first. To put it simply, your dollars are working for them before they are working for you.

When you make a payment on a debt, either your minimum payment or any additional payments on a monthly basis, you’ve lost any further opportunity to benefit from that dollar.

Traditional strategies tell you to cut back on your lifestyle and save up cash to spend in bulk to avoid debt. Or, they tell you to take out loans to build your credit and make large payments on those loans to avoid interest accrual. Both strategies work if we assume that life doesn’t happen and that anything unexpected or un-planned doesn’t derail your influx of cash flow.

Traditional Thinking...

Upon graduation, there are generally 3 parts that alumni focus on financially: Debt Repayment, Savings, & Emergency Fund. You are in charge of selecting the debt repayment plan that best fits your current situation (but if you push it off close to or at the end of your 6-month grace period after graduation, you will be automatically enrolled in the 10 Year plan). Each plan has specific caveats that, depending on what your current situation is and what your priorities & goals are, have different short-term & long-term effects.

Most graduates know to fund their savings, but fewer realize that their savings and an emergency fund are two separate accounts with two different purposes.

Building Your Foundation - with your goals at the center.

Building your savings should focus on future/goal expenses such as buying a car, taking a vacation, or purchasing that expensive saxophone you’ve been eyeing since the 8th grade. Whereas, the financial planning industry standard for an emergency fund is that you have 6 months’ worth of basic living expenses on hand.

Eliminating your debt following traditional thinking is what led us to approximately $1.6 trillion in college debt as a country (21 years on average to pay off a bachelor’s degree), 30% of graduates moving back home, and an average total savings of approximately $8,500 for singles under 34.

Without your dollars working for you, being able to accomplish multiple jobs at the same time, the disruption of your cash flow can set you back further than anticipated when life happens.

So, how can you make your dollars work as hard as you are? You put them in a triple threat position.

The Triple Threat Position

For the non-basketball fans out there, when the basketball is passed to you, your body needs to be in the physical position to accomplish three things:

  1. Pass the ball
  2. Shoot the ball
  3. Drive (or dribble) to the basket

That is being able to accomplish all three of your offensive objectives at once, a triple threat. When your dollars are positioned offensively, you’ll be able to efficiently accomplish your 3 points of financial growth at the same time:

  1. Repay Your Debts Faster & Minimize Interest Paid
  2. Build your Savings
  3. Build and Keep an Emergency Fund
Triple Threat - In Action

How can you put yourself in a position to accomplish your goals when it comes to your dollar? The concept of a Supercharged Savings Strategy. You rely on your own personal economy, with your goals and priorities front and center. This tool is fundamental in eliminating your debt faster and more efficiently while building your savings and emergency fund. There are high interest-bearing savings tools that out-perform your non-interest or low-interest savings account, without any market risk.

Some seek market returns, but the unpredictability of the stock market makes investment options a non-viable option for stable, guaranteed growth. Understanding the differentiation between stable growth and the risk/reward system in the market is vital to launching your life.

Safe Growth vs. Market Based

Author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, broke discretionary investing down to a simple guideline. Of your discretionary monies (cash distribution outside of necessary living expenses: i.e. rent/mortgage, food, water, electricity, lifestyle, etc.), 80% should be dedicated to a stable growth environment with little to no volatility, which allows the remaining 20% to be the “designated hitter”, aiming purely for big returns. Balancing your growth vehicles in this fashion provides breathing room and stability moving forward.

Using a Supercharged Savings Strategy gives you the freedom and the power to know what’s ahead and be prepared for when ‘life happens’. Flexibility to work with your current situation but grow alongside you as future life events happen (Buying a New Car, Buying a Home, Getting Married, Moving Out of Town, Changing Jobs/Careers, Annual Vacations, etc.). It also gives you ample opportunity to develop in the market following the 80/20 rule.

Make sure your dollars are working just as hard as you are and put yourself at the center of your college loan & debt repayment strategy.

Certified College Debt Specialists at Responsible College Advocates have the tools, knowledge, and technology to keep you on track, your goals at the forefront, and your dollars working for you and not your lenders.

Responsible College Advocates is a Free Community Resource. We believe that since you had to pay for your education, you do not have to pay for the solution to further your after-college goals. We may not be able to give you free college or forgive the college debt you have already accrued, but we can give you your personalized free solution.