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Old 08-25-2008, 09:11 AM
Amanda's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: southeast Wisconsin
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Pay for College Without Sacrificing Your Retirement

Can you afford to retire after paying for college?

For most families, paying for college is the second largest purchase they will ever make—only rivaled by buying a home. It is also one of the least understood and properly planned out and executed activities families make.

Most parents believe that families who receive the most financial aid are those with the most need.

But they’d be wrong.

Boston, Massachusetts based college financial planning expert Tim Higgins says “The people who receive the most financial aid are the people who best understand the aid process."

In his new book Pay for College Without Sacrificing Your Retirement Tim Higgins takes the lessons learned from his college financial planning practice and lays out a practical and highly doable strategy to help parents take on the double challenge of paying for your children’s college education and saving for retirement at the same time.

Whether your child goes to a public or a private school can make a difference of course, but wherever they attend, it will still cost a huge amount of money. Your ability to address these financial needs will need to be evaluated carefully.

If your student has talent, merit based scholarships may be available. Beyond that, there’s need-based aid, which is calculated based on several factors.

Tim’s book focuses extensively on how a family can best influence the most important factor colleges look at in determining need -- the EFC which stands for the expected family contribution. The EFC calculation looks at assessable vs. non-assessable assets.

Tim said “The key to maximizing the financial aid lies in how you allocate your assets. Reducing assessable assets reduces your EFC and increases your need based aid.”

Among the thirteen valuable and crucial strategies he describes for increasing need based aid are the following:

1. Don’t hold assets in your child’s name. Student assets are often assessed at higher rates than parent assets.
2. Don’t hold more assessable assets than necessary. Changing the nature of your investments can change the way colleges calculate the EFC.
3. Don’t overestimate the value of your home. Even though you may be proud of your home, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to overestimate the equity value on college financial aid profiles.
4. Pay off debt. Get rid of loans and credit card debts and create additional cash flow to the maximum degree possible.
5. Restructure your liabilities. Turn bad debts into good debts by selecting the type of financing to reduce assessable assets. Utilizing equity in your home and paying off credit card debt reduces your assessable assets and lowers your EFC.

Tim stresses that calculating EFC and trying to get need based aid will not pay for college totally although it will help the family maximize their chances of receiving aid.

“Comprehensive planning is the only answer,” he said. “Student planning plus parent planning will produce most efficient buying decision.”

Pay For College Without Sacrificing Your Retirement also provides a comprehensive set of advantageous strategies for business owners.

Pay for College Without Sacrificing Your Retirement
A Guide to Your Financial Future
by Timothy Higgins

List $18.95
219 pages, trade soft cover
ISBN 9780972002189

Available at bookstores online and nationwide or directly from the publisher

For more information visit

Pay for College looks at how to meet educational costs within the context of an entire financial plan that considers income level, age, investments, retirement accounts, business holdings, the student’s level of achievement, skills, and expectations.

This book looks in detail at: financial aid and how to figure expected family contributions; academic, athletic and need-based scholarships; tax sheltered savings plans such as 529s; the use of business assets; loans; home equity; retirement savings; potential help from grandparents; and how to choose the best college for your money.
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