Editor's Letter

By Paul Curley | paul.curley@strategic-i.com | August 3, 2016

Tip Jar Thoughts of the Week on College Financial Planning

529 Dash – Week of August 1, 2016 

Inspiration comes when and where we least expect it. This last week, I was on a family vacation in Kennebunkport, Maine. On a rare night out away from the little ones, we went out for dinner and made our way towards town for a lobster dinner with and for our California family members. While not necessarily a special night out for those living in Boston, the decor of buildings and friendliness of everyone in town reminded me of summertime. The laughter, the smell of the sea, the warmth of the sun and the dotting of souvenir shops, ice cream cones, fried food and yes, lobster. After comparing a few restaurants on Yelp and other apps, and passing on a few others in-person, we landed at the Clam Shack. Yes, this is the spot one may dream of on the coast of Maine in the middle of summer with benches, live lobster tanks and lobster traps all around. Fresh squeezed lemonade? Check. So we decided on the location and put in the order. When checking out, there was a tip jar with the following note on it reading, “Four Years of College, A Lifetime of Debt.” A stirring thought, as it was definitely a part of the scene. At first in such an idyllic scene, even I thought “yes, this all makes sense.” But then again, why? Why should this mantra be a given? At the end, I posed the question to my close Twitter community of tweeps: “Caption description anyone? Mine: 529s saves lives from student loans.” I believe all families have the ability to overcome this through active and efficient college financial planning. For example, parents and students have the opportunity to save and save efficiently over the long-term with a 529. Additionally, summer jobs before college teaches the value of money and work ethic, while working during college through work study provides money and through internships provides experience. Lastly, those that just graduated ideally will work in a field for experience and money, or at least one of the two. Also, a quick thank you to those that responded to the Twitter post with their perspective. For our 529 Dash community, we as advisors, accountants and estate planners have an opportunity to change the direction of our client’s entire life from passively accepting a lifetime of debt to a lifetime of ever rising achievements to the next level or tier of ones dreams. Have the college financial planning conversation today, and create a better reality for your clients for a lifetime.