Bringing Financial Logic To Your Emotional Decision
College Planning
Good college planning involves finding the "right" schools to apply
to, getting the best prices possible at those schools, and finally,
making an informed decision as to which college will be
the best
affordable investment and "fit" for your student.
The 4 Ways to Pay for College

1.  Savings

2.  Financial Aid

3.  Cash Flow

4.  Loans

1.  Savings gives you options.  Without
savings, the means through which you can
pay for college is limited.  The key is to save
in the "right" places.

Financial aid may be private scholarships,
merit-based aid, or need-based aid.  You
need to find out which types are available to
you and how to get them.

3.  How much free
Cash Flow is left over for
you at the end of the month?  This will
determine how much of a payment plan you
can reasonably commit to.

4.  Once the first three resources are
exhausted, you and/or your student must
apply for
Loans to meet college expenses.  
Three important questions to ask before
borrowing: 1) How much can you afford to
borrow (cash flow), 2) How much are you
willing to borrow, and 3) How do you feel
about that?  You may be willing to take on a
lot of debt. . .or you may not.  Either way, that
will help you determine which colleges fall
into your price range.

In developing an efficient game plan for
college, a family should analyze each of the
four resources.  Combine that with a
retirement plan, career planning for the
student, a good college search, and you will
be better prepared than 99% of your peers!
Questions to Ask
  • Do you know who receives the most money for
    college and why?

  • Did you know some college funding strategies
    should be implemented 18 months prior to
    starting college?

  • Do you know how much of the total cost of
    college you (as parents) can afford to pay without
    sacrificing your retirement dreams?
Thinking like a CFO
Your household is a mini-business.  You have income
that comes in, expenses that go out, while seeking a high
ROI (return on investment) on your assets.  Fortune 500
companies have CFO's to help them run efficiently.  You
need to think and plan as the CFO of your household.  
College is too large of an investment/expense to not take
a step back and formulate an efficient game plan.

How you pay for college will impact your retirement.  
Remember: you can borrow for college but you cannot
borrow for retirement!