Student Loans Are Not Financial Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens after January 1 for the 2016-2017 school year. Parents and students all over America will begin the difficult, agonizing process of figuring out how to fund an increasingly expensive American college education. In honor of the start of the financial aid season, I’d like to point out the obvious: student loans are NOT financial aid. They are a financing mechanism. Those are two different things. Read more

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How One Woman Got Her College Degree For Free

One of the most frequent questions we get from people is how to save money on college education. We understand that for most people, saving to pay for 100% of college costs is unfeasible and that there needs to be a college savings strategy for kids that are close to attending college with limited funds. As I started researching a strategy, my wonderful co-worker, Camille, told us about a book written by Sharla Berry, an educator in Los Angeles called Degree for Free: How To Save Time and Money on Your College Education.  Read more

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College saving

Financial Rules Of Thumb: Saving For College

Have you ever heard the rule of thumb that says you should wait 30 minutes to swim after eating? Or don’t leave your Christmas lights up past Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? Perhaps you’ve read some of the arguments both for and against the edict to drink 8 glasses of water per day. And of course, there’s the rule that gets a lot of kids in trouble: question authority. But while these rules may not always ring true, generally speaking, they are good guidelines for getting you through life a little easier.  Read more

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Here’s Your Next Superhero!

I was talking with a young man today who was facing a rather large debt load and was looking for a way to effectively manage that debt so that it doesn’t ruin his life or at least make it difficult to feel anything other than trapped by his debt. He bought a relatively inexpensive ($20,000) car, has around $8,000 in credit card debt and about $80,000 of undergraduate and graduate school loans. His salary today basically allows him to pay rent, his debts and a little bit of discretionary money for entertainment. He said that his life was not very much fun right now and he feels like he is suffocating. He sounded very frustrated and he joked that at this stage, he’d be willing to sell an organ to raise cash to pay off some of the debt.   Read more

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Let’s Get Ready To Rumble

I had a dad who was a huge fan of boxing. Whether it was appropriate or not, some of my earliest memories are of my trying to understand why he is so excited when people hit each other on T.V. but seems to get upset when I do the same thing to my younger brother. Eventually I got the difference (admittedly, I was a little disappointed, especially when he ripped off the head of my favorite Barbie doll) but I actually started to enjoy boxing and hearing Michael Buffer say, “Lets get ready to rumble.” Read more

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Just Say No

I am a child of the 80s. I grew up on Happy Days, Falcon Crest, and Family Ties. In between these shows, inevitably a commercial would come on with a child being pressured into using drugs, refusing and looking into camera and saying no.  Read more

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Which Colleges Make The Best Investments?

With the rising cost of college, more students and their parents are rightfully looking at their of college in financial terms. In that spirit, I saw this report on the best “value colleges” by “return on investment.” This can be a much more useful measurement than simply looking at a school’s general “ranking” but there are a few thing to keep in mind: Read more

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Un-Crushing Student Loan Debt

Very often, I talk to people who have financial concerns that are weighing on them. I’ve noticed a correlation between the age of the person and the concern. Lately, a lot of people who are within a few years of retirement have been concerned about the stock market and relatively new hires who are just establishing a career have been concerned about their level of debt impairing their ability to make progress toward their important life goals.  Those are two mini-trends I’ve been seeing lately.  Read more

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