A Word About Scholarships

April 18, 2014

It's my freshman year of college and I am standing in a crowded campus book store among several other freshman and their parents. Frantically I look for the books I need for my classes. As I struggle to navigate my way through I notice that, with each book, comes a fairly large sticker price. Panicking I call my Dad on the phone. "Dad, do you know how much these books cost? And I have to pay for them out of my own pocket?" Obviously I missed this part of college planning during high school - oh wait, college planning courses weren't offered at my high school! Regardless, at this moment I am seriously wishing I were better prepared, mentally and financially, for all that college entails. Now I recognize how scholarships in the amount of $300 or $500 could be of assistance to me. 

I tell you this story to illustrate this point: No scholarship is too small for you to apply. Any amount of free money that you are given for college is just that - FREE MONEY! No loans, no interest fees, you don't have to pay it back! Large scholarships are not awarded to everybody and, even if you are incredibly gifted, the competition for them is stiff. That's not to say you shouldn't apply for the larger scholarships; but don't write off the smaller gifts of money. If you fit the criteria for a scholarship then it is worth your time to apply. 

Posted in College Planning.

Tax Deferred = Tax Postponed

April 16, 2014


The link will take you to a splash of cold reality.  And I'm not picking on the current President and Congress.  Since the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1913 tax increases have been a way of life for "we the people."

Tax-deferred accounts not only postpone the tax due, but also the tax calculation -- and you will have no say-so in what that calculation is.

Is your retirement leaning on tax-deferred (that is to say, postponed) accounts?

I am available to discuss with you facts that may change your life in retirement.

Posted in Retirement Planning.

FAFSA - Get on it!

January 30, 2014

It's the time of year to complete FAFSA! (FREE Application for Federal Student Aid) We have included a few guidelines to keep in mind:
1.       The FAFSA must be completed every year. If you are already a student in college don't forget to complete the form for the upcoming year.
2.       You don't have to wait until you file your taxes to complete FAFSA. It is wise to complete FAFSA as early as possible as financial awards are often given on a first come first serve basis. Use last year's tax return to complete the form. You can always make corrections at a later date if needed.
3.       Every student preparing for college should complete the FAFSA regardless of their family's income level. Don't make the mistake of thinking your family's income level is too high. Financial aid can be awarded based on many different factors including number of children in college. Also, in many cases colleges will not give merit based awards unless the student has completed the FAFSA.
4.       Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is the FAFSA is always free to complete. If you find yourself at a website asking for money in order to complete the form then you are not at the official FAFSA website.
Completing the FAFSA is an important step in your journey to college. Having problems completing FAFSA? Are you still not sure where to begin?  We offer a one-on-one consulting session at no cost to you. Contact us today.
Hannah, Director of Student Services

Posted in College Planning.

Your best interests are my first concern

July 15, 2014

It is true that we live in a caveat emptor world. That means, "Buyer - beware!" I always advise my clients to understand thoroughly my process and recommendations. At any point along the way, your questions are relevant and of great importance; always ask your question. In addition to that, I strive to raise your level of confidence in me to a point where you can sleep at night after following my process and advice.

As part of that I am required to complete 24 hours of Continuing Education (minimum) bi-annually. (In fact, I am working on that this month; which is what prompted me to write this.) Above and beyond that I participate in weekly training, review and education; plus I attend conferences for multi-day training and education at least 4 times per year, every year.

It does not make me perfect. It does, hopefully, lend credibility and trustworthiness to my processes and services in your eyes -- the only ones, in the final analysis, that matter. read more

Posted in College Planning Strategies, Legacy Planning Strategies, Retirement Planning, Wealth Creation Strategies.

Is it time to stick a fork in the economy?

July 13, 2014


We have been talking for some time with our clients about balance with low-risk positions that, nevertheless, offer credible growth and leverage potential. Is this a good time to consider our counsel? Read the linked article and get in touch with us. read more

How can you achieve growth and protect your principle?

July 13, 2014


We advocate balance. Discuss equities and risk with your investment advisor. Discuss with us alternative positions. Achieve balance, while still experiencing growth and the potential to leverage a cash position. read more

Posted in Retirement Planning, Wealth Creation Strategies.

What drives our passion?

July 7, 2014

What drives our passion?

It breaks our hearts to see kids dreams crushed; and fills us with joy and a sense of true accomplishment to help see those dreams become reality.

Sunday I met Paige, age 20, who told me why her dream was impossible. "Who," I asked, "told you that?" Her answer was "lots of people." She described a few -- friends, school counselors, teachers; but named no one in particular.

As I drew her out in conversation she expressed a well-defined vision of the future she wants. She apparently has the personal and academic credentials to merit a chance to succeed. I told her so. I asked her, "If you could have your dream for about the same cost as what you are told you must settle for, which would you choose?"

Well the answer was obvious -- and the answer is possible! I pray that young Paige will reach out to me and let me help her. read more

Posted in College Planning, College Planning Strategies.

Optimism on the 4th of July

July 4, 2014

Celebrating 238 years as an independent, free nation, and at least 500 years of God's providence and grace over this piece of planet Earth, I awoke this morning with my mind in turmoil about where we, as a nation, are headed. Then I stopped to pray.

My moments alone with God changed my entire outlook. Here are my thoughts:
In 2008 President Obama declared his intention to "fundamentally transform" USA. Since 2008 he has successfully made America's public life more socialist
more culturally disparate
more racially fragmented
more a nation of political brute-force
less guided by the rule of law
less affluent
less industrious
less of a superpower
less secure at the borders . . .

And that is where the Lord broke through to show me something. I was reading about my sister-in-Christ Nicole Rim. She is of Cambodian extraction and serves Christ among the third largest population of Cambodians in the world in Lynn, MA.

Nicole wrote, "Because Buddhism is so deeply ingrained in the Cambodian culture . . . it's not just rituals. It's actually their worldview. . . . To be Cambodian is to be Buddhist."

The Lord took my thoughts to the hundreds of thousands of people the Obama administration is pulling across the border. Who are they, and what is their worldview?

They are predominantly native Americans, steeped in 500 years of Roman Catholicism. To be Latin American is to be Roman Catholic.

What does that mean for President Obama's ultimate goal to fundamentally transform the USA?
They consider the Pope's authority greater than his authority
They are Pro-Life/anti-abortion
They know of only one type of marriage: one man to one woman
They believe in traditional family life more than in a political nation-state
They believe in individual property rights
They believe that "might is right"
They believe in orthodox Christian morality.

In short, their worldview is fundamentally different from that of the current administration and more compatible with my own, Anglo-Saxon Protestant worldview.

So, Happy 4th ..... read more

Tagged as 4th of July; Independence; Freedom.

Your Greatest Financial Asset

June 25, 2014

We all have one great financial asset -- T I M E. Uninterrupted compounding of our money at interest, given enough time, will create substantial wealth.

Uninterrupted compounding at interest -- there is a lot packed into that short phrase. First, placing your dollars in an account that earns a competitive rate of interest, with a minimal risk of loss is the due diligence every wise person follows.

Second, the dollars must be left there to compound at interest. It has been said that compounding of interest remains, without rival, the single, most effective strategy to create wealth.

Third, that compounding must be uninterrupted. The single greatest mistake in wealth creation is interrupting compounding by "draining the tank." For example, saving money to pay cash for the next automobile is a great idea. It remains great until you withdraw the money to make your purchase. After that, you must start all over again.

The question naturally arises, "Well, if I save my money and never spend it, what's the point?" The question is important and the answer is this: collateralize your money, rather than spend it. Keep it gorwing over the longest possible period of time and you will create significant wealth.

Time is the difference-maker. Dollars saved in a compounding account, uninterrupted, given enough time, will make you wealthy. read more

Posted in Retirement Planning, Wealth Creation Strategies.

Importance of the Campus Visit

March 25, 2014

The Importance of a College Visit

Narrowing down your selection of potential colleges is exciting and fun! There is no doubt that a campus visit is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the college selection process. All the online research in the world cannot replace the experience of actually setting foot onto a college campus. The way something appears online may be very different from an in-person visit.

I'm a military wife, and I have lived on several Army posts around the country. One of the first things I did each time my husband received new orders was to research our new location online. Each Army post has a website, and just like colleges do, everything is made to look picturesque. The on-post housing is neat, up-to-date, and beautiful. The people in the pictures are smiling and having a good time, and the local community is a nice place to explore.

How very different, in person, those places were! It wasn't until we actually arrived at each destination that I was able to get a true feel for the housing, the neighborhoods, the on-post shopping, etc. Even more important than the physical details was the sense of community. Believe it or not at every post I have been to I have had completely different experiences with my ease of making new friends, as well as the ease and comfort of getting involved in different activities.

I share these experiences with you because it is similar to moving onto a college campus. I was a dorm resident on two different campuses before I finally earned my degree. You are going to be looking at living arrangements, cafeterias, the library, the architecture and landscape of a school. A campus visit will allow you to meet current faculty and students. It is also a great time to taste the cafeteria food! Remember you will be spending four years of your life on that campus, so it should be a place you enjoy on many different levels.

As an Army wife I really don't have much say as to where we live...Uncle Sam is in charge of that! Fortunately for you, you do have options!

Not sure how to narrow down your list of potential schools? ..... read more

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