TEN Q AND A’s ABOUT COLLEGE FINANCIAL PLANNING THAT MAY BE VERY COSTLY FOR YOU NOT TO THINK ABOUT

Posted on May 8, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

The following answers are short and do not explain thoroughly the reasons for many of them. If you would like detailed answers on any or all of these questions, please get in touch – fill out the contact form on our website:

http://www.college-connections.com/contact_form.html 

 Request either a specific email response or a full college financial navigation tool.

Q. When should I begin to think about paying for my children’s education?

A.  As early as possible if you want to be sure to avoid a wipe out of funds. (this may not be true for the most affluent and least affluent families, but for those who have watched the destruction of wealth in the past few years, things happen.

Q   If I begin to save early, where do I invest my money? 

A.  This is a very tricky question and should be discussed with a knowledgeable investment professional who understands the power of compounding, real returns and risk management. Many people with some understanding will feel that 529 or other Educational Saving Plans are the obvious answer. This is not always the case and can actually be the wrong place for your savings.

Q.  What is a financial profile and why is it important? 

Everyone usually has a unique financial aspect to their profile. Things that can be done by accountants familiar with college planning and College Financial Planners are going to be very different dependent on whether or not you own your own business, what is your Adjusted Gross Income, what are your assets and liabilities and what are extenuating circumstances.

Q. Why do so many people leave so much potential aid on the table?

A. Tax codes are written for income levels and are progressive. Many families may be very close to a step down which can be usually done easily and create Financial Aid when before there was none.

Q.  What can be done at a late stage?

A.  Very little, although there are some ideas that can be used and be quite significant, but these will involve a very specific set of circumstances. Beware of planners who say they can help you greatly regardless of when you come to them.

Q.  Does it matter whether we send our child to a private or public school? 

A.  Absolutely, but the full answer to this question might surprise you greatly.

Q.  Are the financial aid forms difficult to fill out?

A.  They are only difficult because of what you may leave out that would be in your favor. The Universities do not give you any significant help in explaining that sometimes an answer is not black or white and that they should know about it. Individuals with very little financial background may have problems with some questions, also.

Q.  Do I need to be completely honest with my answers?

 One in three (33%) of applications are audited and there are flags that go up for many answers that seem improbable. These are not good odds to cause damage to your child’s   potential chances for aid

Q.  Can I appeal a decision?

A.  Absolutely, especially when there are extenuating circumstances or something has changed that is of importance. 

Q.  It is advisable to get help with all of this from a professional. 

A.  This is a matter of opinion, resources, and your confidence in this area. My personal opinion is that it is worthwhile to have an exploratory look at your finances done by a professional. This should not be expensive. The professional then should be able to tell you what he feels he could do for you and what his price would be to develop a plan. The decision is then yours. Plans that are done early in the child’s life and crossover to full financial plans that include getting college funded without destroying your retirement plan are most beneficial and worthwhile. Remember it is not a matter of saving $25,000 or $100,000 but what that saved money would represent in future value (allowing it to compound for another 25 years).

Richard Borin is a Registered Investment Advisor and a Certified College Planning Specialist. He specializes in Wealth Management, Retirement Plans and Educational Saving Plans. He can be reached through email at richard@college-connections.com 

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