College funding Insight & Tips

Let My Hindsight Be Your 20/20

My parents were both teachers, and while my mom passed away when I was five, my dad was a high school teacher nearly all my life. Needless to say, there was never any doubt that I’d be going to college. Fortunately for my dad and step-mom, I was a pretty bright kid who studied hard and worked during the summers, so by the time college came around, I had some pretty good financial aid and they didn’t have to contribute much.

What strikes me about this is that my story is by no means unique. I see kids come through our doors all the time who are dedicated students, working part time and trying to help their families as best they can so that college can be their reality. Be that as it may, college students today are facing a tougher financial battle than ever before, leaving them and their families to wonder, “How am I ever going to pay for this?” The cost of college has gone up, astronomically, by about 7%-8% per year over the last few decades, meaning those costs have doubled every ten years while the typical family income has steadily fallen behind.

So what does that mean for families just like yours, with kids who want to go to college? Oftentimes, it means kids sacrificing their dream schools, thinking that the only option they have is the local, state university. It means parents losing sleep and having a hard debate in their heads about how to pay. They wonder if they’re selfish to want to save for retirement when they have a child who wants to go to college. It means parents and their kids doing endless hours of research, trying to discern which school is the best fit (then hoping for tons of scholarships or that somehow, they can figure out how to pay off any loans they need to take).

I know because I’ve been there myself. My wife, Phyllis, and I have two great kids: one a college grad, and one rounding the final lap into her senior year this fall. When we started the applying-for-college routine with my son, Ross, I figured I’d have it covered. As a financial planner for five years, and a manager in Fortune 500 companies for 20, I knew I had a step-up on the other parents who were navigating the same crowded waters. We identified income and assets to fund college, bought the Princeton Review, spent hours online, and loaded up with all the prep materials. Unfortunately, like scoring last minute floor seats to a sold-out concert, you’ve got to know someone on the inside to get the best deal.

Ross went to Georgetown University—an incredible school we managed to pay for between savings and loans—but had my family had the insider knowledge that I have now, we would have been more strategically prepared. We would have conducted a college search that would have earlier-on identified multiple colleges that fit both Ross and our budget, minimizing the loans we needed. In the end, Ross’s school was a great fit for him, but we overpaid because our search process was flawed. We thought we were doing everything right, but we did not know what we did not know. Today, I use that lesson to help other families put their kids through college at a cost that is doable for them.

Here at Exodus College Planning, we’re not just a champion for your child; we’re a champion for parents, too. With our personal and professional experience, we have the resources necessary to help you put your child comfortably through a college that fits them. You might be new to the idea of a college funding advisor, but I promise that with our help, your child can have the college experience he or she deserves, with all the peace of mind you deserve as well.

—Kevin Anderson

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