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  • 12/1/2012 - Do you have “WILL” Power? So you have a written will.  Good for you!  Fortunately, or unfortunately, you have done more than other people.  It’s very sad that many people start the will process after they have been personally affected by an event close to them.  Don’t follow in these footsteps. Many people feel that “everything” goes to the kids.  That may be true.  But how old are they?  Can they manage those assets?  What about a house or other personal ...
  • 5/1/2012 - The Road To College Remember when a college education was reasonably priced? Those days are gone, and that's why college planning is so important. Between 2001 and 2006 the average tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities increased by 35%. The average tuition for private colleges increased 32% between 1996 and 2006 (according to the College Board).How soon is too soon? It is never too soon to begin saving for your child's education. Many parents start as soon as a child is born. Some parents ...
  • 4/1/2011 - Lady Bears...Thanks! This month I decided to take a break from giving you insight on financial issue to highlight a very special group of young women.The Lady Bears high school basketball team just completed their best season in school history! They may have not won the state championship but they deserve to called winners.A brief recap in case you just flew back from enjoying a southern winter. This team of girls of all ages NEVER gave up. They fought every single minute to get to the district playoffs. At that ...
  • 3/1/2011 - To pay or not to pay What a question!  You sell your house, you retire or you inherit a large sum of money.  Maybe, unfortunately, you are a corporate downsizing victim or a recipient of funds from a divorce or other misfortune.  Either way, there are many decisions you are facing regarding these funds.  Whatever you do, have patience and get assistance. Is it best to pay off your credit cards?  What about your car or your house.  There are many things to consider, such as interest ...
  • 2/1/2011 - Be Prepared For The Worst...Or Else! I recently informed you about some changes to be aware of regarding planning for your unlikely death. It's not pleasant to discuss but very necessary to avoid complications for the people you truly cherish.Here are a few things to consider. How would you answer the following questions: In the event you and your spouse die at the same time (in a common accident, for example), at what ages would you want property to be available to your children without restriction? At this time, should the need ...
  • 11/1/2010 - Estate Tax Changes Review NOW! There is a chance that the repeal of the estate tax will terminate at the end of this year.  This means rates will return to the days of 2002.  It's right around the corner so start preparing now or major consequences could occur.  Here are a few things to consider. First, list all charitable organizations (including schools and universities) you expect to mention in your estate plan and the type or amount of property you intend them to receive. Next, keep complete information ...
  • 3/1/2010 - Back To Reality...Again The recent stock market boom has been a real treat for people invested in equities. Those individuals that have avoided stocks because of the risk have been second guessing their motives over the last few years.Well now those "safe" investors have a chip on their shoulder after the stock market plunge in late July. Everywhere you turn people say, "See, I told you the stock market was overvalued, I knew it. You should have listened to me!" Pay attention because I will help you seal lips.First, ...
  • 12/1/2009 - It’s All Risky…..Isn’t It? We hear it all the time. We see it on every business channel. Our friends tell us at social events. Parents say it at our children’s sporting events, "Stocks are risky!!!" OK, tell me something I don’t know.  Bonds are safe….wrong! You can’t go wrong with real estate…incorrect! We are in a very “interesting” economic environment right now and everyone seems to have an opinion. Here’s my thoughts.. Every investment has risk. If you ...

The Road To College

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
The Road To College

Remember when a college education was reasonably priced? Those days are gone, and that's why college planning is so important. Between 2001 and 2006 the average tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities increased by 35%. The average tuition for private colleges increased 32% between 1996 and 2006 (according to the College Board).

How soon is too soon? It is never too soon to begin saving for your child's education. Many parents start as soon as a child is born. Some parents begin planning before children arrive. If you're planning on having a family "someday",  start planning now. If you have a child on the way, start now. Notice a theme here?

What about your retirement? While you may feel that putting off your retirement for a few years is an acceptable trade-off, you should not have to sacrifice your retirement savings to put your children through college. Remember...student loans are available. While you may not want your child to assume such a financial burden, you could always help out with repaying the loan later. Also, by having your child be responsible for at least portion of their college tuition or expenses, they may experience a greater understanding of and appreciation for the value of their education.

You need a break. A tax break, that is. Many higher education savings vehicles can provide one, such as 529 plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts , and certain kinds of tax-exempt bonds. However, as the number of tax-advantaged college savings vehicles have increased, so have the details, rules and "fine print" pertaining to them. In fact, some of these tax breaks could conflict with one another. Unless you're willing to spend a great deal of time doing research, it may be wise to speak with a financial professional who can help you sort through these options.

Other alternatives to consider... If money is tight, would your child be willing to complete their first two years at a local community college then move on to their preferred college or university later? The tuition is likely to be much less at a community college and you realize additional savings if your child attends school while living at home. If your child does not wish to start college locally, it may be worthwhile to look into the myriad of scholarships, work study programs and off-campus jobs that may be available. The guidance office at most schools will have job information available if you inquire.

The simple fact is - the sooner you plan, the better. If you haven't begun planning, start now - there is no better time to get the proverbial ball rolling. You may be surprised how a little planning now can make a big difference in the years to come.

(These views are those of the author and should not be construed as investment advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information.)



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