This category addresses various matters dealing with planning, funding, and surviving college.

May 3, 2018
Financial Games for Kids

9 Financial Games for Kids That Teach Monetary Principles

It is hard to believe one of the most important aspects pertaining to our kids’ future is often overlooked: learning about finances! Since these life-changing concepts are not adequately covered in schools (in my opinion), that job falls on us parents! One great (and fun) way is by playing financial games for kids. These games will expose them to the rules they will encounter during banking and managing money as they grow up. The best part—when playing these money-related games, they can take financial risks and without being penalized. The summer break is a great time to snatch one up and get your kids’ financially simple education started!
December 7, 2017

Should You Use a ROTH IRA to Fund Your Child’s College Education?

Today’s question of the day is: “Justin, I read your blog post about options of where to fund your child’s college education for maximum savings. You mentioned a Roth IRA, so how exactly do I do that?”
October 3, 2017

Tax Tip: Check Out College Tax Benefits

Reminder for Parents, Students: Check Out College Tax Benefits With back-to-school season in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service reminds parents and students about tax benefits that can help with the expense of higher education. Two college tax credits apply to students enrolled in an eligible college, university or vocational school. Eligible students include the taxpayer, their spouse, and dependents. American Opportunity Tax Credit The American Opportunity Tax Credit, (AOTC) can be worth a maximum annual benefit of $2,500 per eligible student. The credit is only available for the first four years at an eligible college or vocational school for students pursuing a degree or another recognized education credential. Taxpayers can claim the AOTC for a student enrolled in the first three months of 2018 as long as they paid qualified expenses in 2017. Lifetime Learning Credit The Lifetime Learning Credit, (LLC) can have a maximum benefit of up to $2,000 […]
September 17, 2017
student loan debt

529 Savings Plans for College: What You Need to Know

According to the College Board (2016) study,  called The Trends In College Pricing, by the year 2024, the average sticker price on a public in State College is expected to move up to $34,000 per year. For private schools that number is estimated to be around $76,000 a year. Let’s face it, college is getting ridiculously expensive and if you have little ones at home that you expect to help pay for their college, then you need to know how to set aside money for that. In our intro post –  an alternative to saving for college, we explored we looked at some out of the box ideas. Today we’re going to look at a more traditional route: 529 savings plans. This particular investment vehicle allows you to save or put away money specifically for education. Parents or grandparents contributing to a 529 savings plan get to invest that money and […]
September 13, 2017
tips to keep your wedding expenses under control

12 Wedding Budget Tips from a Real Financial Advisor

Move over summer; there’s a new wedding guest in town. According to a 2015 survey, wedding bells are now ringing more in the fall than the summer. September and October come in tops for the most weddings. This CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ can certainly vouch for the vivid array of colors and cool temps that the Smoky Mountains offer as an ideal wedding backdrop during this time. While the autumn equinox lends a picturesque setting, it may not be any kinder to your wallet than a summer wedding. Nevertheless, there are ways to actually have the wedding of your dreams (whether your Team Fall or Team Summer or anything in between) on a budget. Here are 12 wedding budget tips to keep your expenses under control. 
March 3, 2017

Balancing Retirement Planning and College Savings Simultaneously

Balancing retirement planning and college savings simultaneously can be a daunting task. Many Americans struggle with this very thing. They want to know: How do you pursue both goals? How do you determine which is more important or are they equal? If this dilemma sounds familiar, you’re not alone. The struggle to balance your retirement while preparing for children’s success is something even I strive to manage. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I often help parents evaluate options, guiding them to choose the best path that works for them. Planning If you find yourself asking how, here’s a few questions to help you determine what may work for you. Keep in mind; there are no simple answers. Saving for both isn’t a one size fits all: • How long until you retire? • How much Social Security do you expect to receive? • What is your income goal for retirement? • Will you send multiple children to college? • […]