Financial Wellness @ Work

Say NO to Student Loan Debt (Part I)

My colleague, Erik Carter, and I just recently finished our 2013 research report on generational financial issues. In this report, we looked at internal and external data to see what Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers are dealing with in terms of financial planning. As I began to look further into the lives of Millennials, I was shocked to discover just how much college debt the average graduate carries these days—averaging $35,200 according to a recent Fidelity studyRead more

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Don’t Fear the FAFSA

One of the great things about the holidays is that you get to spend time with family members you don’t otherwise see throughout the year.  For me, that meant seeing my nephew for the first time since he graduated from high school last summer.  I had assumed he had started his freshman year at college this fall, but sadly that was not the case.   Read more

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You Are Not Your College Major

In this blog post, my colleague Michael Smith writes about his daughter going to college next year and the big decision she’ll have to make about what to major in. But I’m not sure that I agree that it’s as big a decision as he thinks it is. As you’re probably aware, some of the most financially successful people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg didn’t even graduate from college at all. Read more

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A Major Decision

It seems that lately my personal life has been dominated by questions about “next year,” “next phase of life,” “what do you plan to do after….”  Actually, not so much my life, but my kids. All 3 are in the last year of their respective schools right now.  Read more

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The College Fund You Don’t Know You Have

I talk to many parents of students approaching college age who fret about having little or nothing saved for college. They know how important a college education is and want their children to be able to go to the school of their choice while graduating with as little debt as possible but at best, they only have a few thousand dollars set aside for college expenses, barely enough for one semester’s worth of meals. The rest of their money is tied up in emergency savings, retirement accounts, and a home with little or no equity. Yet, there is one potential bright spot… Read more

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Talking to a Teenager Now May Save Them Tens of Thousands of Dollars Later

I like to write about the things I see in my daily life as well as some of the things going on in my family, and right now the family conversations have a very common theme.  My daughter is a senior in high school and recently was accepted to all of the colleges to which she applied.  Now, it becomes a matter of preference, location, and atmosphere and of course, the financial aid packages offered will factor into the decision as well.  She has known since she was 4 years old that she wants to be a teacher, so paying $60,000/year to go to an elite private school was not going to be an option for her.   Read more

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What Tootsie Rolls and Financial Aid Have in Common

Much to the chagrin of dentists everywhere, Tootsie Roll has been a staple of the candy business for a very long time.  This article talks about the Tootsie Roll Company being a very secretive organization.  And we thought it was just the CIA that operates in relative secrecy!  Tootsie Roll doesn’t give tours, they don’t give interviews to analysts and they don’t operate with much transparency.  It’s as if they have some magical mystery formulas that they don’t want the rest of us to know.  That reminds of an email that I saw from a friend at work this week… Read more

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How Can You Avoid Being a Slave to Your Mortgage?

Lately I have talked to a lot of people who are interested in buying their first home and with a combination of today’s low interest rates and a housing market that does not have prices appreciating rapidly, this might just be a great time to be in the market to buy a house.  They understand that part of it but then don’t know how much house they can afford.  They are getting different opinions from different people in their lives.  So, are there any objective measures by which we can figure out how much house someone might want to consider buying?  Sure… Read more

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How Risky are Prepaid College Plans?

With soaring tuition rates and the increasing importance of a college degree in our economy, prepaid college plans have become popular over the last two decades.  However,  declining returns from the stock market, compounded by the recent financial crisis, have caused a large gap between the funds in these state-administered programs and the escalating costs of state schools.  So what exactly are prepaid college plans and how risky are they? Read more

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I Don’t Want My Kids to be Crushed by Student Loans. Do You?

I read this article titled “This Bright-Eyed Young Man Was Utterly Demolished by Student Loans” about (can you guess?) a guy who has experienced significant financial, personal and emotional hardship because of the financial responsibility that he took on with significant student loan debt.  I wish this were an isolated incident, but based on some meetings I’ve had with young people recently, I’d be lying if I said this isn’t becoming increasingly more common.  Maybe not to the extreme that Nick is experiencing, but there is a growing number of young people who may not be finished with paying off student loans until they are closer to Social Security than college. Read more

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