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10 Tips for Financial Advisors Getting Into College Planning

  1. College – it’s about what happens when the student gets out – not the getting in. Most parents think of college planning as ‘getting in’. The assumption is that if their kid gets into a prestigious (and costly) college, everything will work out just fine. As you go through our programs, you’ll soon realize that we think in terms of outcomes: what is the intended career path and do the costs justify the college track being considered? We’ll enable you to look far beyond ‘getting in’.

  2. A college-grad’s earnings vs a HS grad is not what you think it is. Many conventional wisdoms that have been influencing people’s decision making processes have been wrong, and very costly. ‘College grads earn $1 mi more over the course of their lifetimes than those with a high school diploma’. That was generally true 30 years ago. Now, a college grad with a comp sci, healthcare or engineering degree can make $2 mi more over the course of their careers than a high school grad. However, a college grad with a soft degree will earn about 5% to 10% more than a high school grad. Forget about the old memes – we provide facts and data, for today’s world.

  3. Occupational outcomes tracked from college – don’t rely on what the schools are telling you. College websites will grossly inflate occupational outcomes of their grads – warn your families about this. An admissions office might produce a brochure that reports the salaries of recent grads with history degrees earning $45K. We know that’s 1 out of every 10. Our programs will show you what the other 9 are doing and what they’re earning. This is the kind of information you need to base your plans upon.

  4. Don’t reach for ‘reach colleges’. Many families, especially upper income households are fixated on getting their kids into ‘elite colleges’. If the kid is not an elite student, he’s being set up for failure. Refer to the FAQ of our Admissions Probability Program for excellent strategic insights.

  5. Tuition – it’s negotiable. All colleges have dynamic pricing models. This is extremely important for you to understand as a finance person. Again, refer to the FAQ of our Admissions Probability Program for excellent strategic insights.

  6. It’s the major that matters!... Academic major is a lot more important that the choice of college. Have you ever heard of an employer hiring the label on the diploma?? Of course not. They’re hiring a skill set and they hope those skills are supported by experience. Get the right degree and get internships.

  7. A 4-year degree actually takes 5.3 years. Almost no one graduates from a 4 year college in 4 years anymore. The national average is 5.3 years, and that excludes drop outs! 4.0 students typically graduate in 4.5 years. 3.2 (B) students typically require 6 years. All of this needs to be built into the budget.

  8. College – location, location, location. Here’s a common issue you’ll encounter – the ‘Jones family’ is planning for their oldest to go to college. They’re looking at a bunch of out of state schools. Being that they’re out of state, they’re all over $30k annually, plus fees, etc. You’re thinking ‘Why do that when the kid can get a great education at the local state school at a quarter of the price?’ What they may not be telling you is that they want their kid to grow up and they want him out of their hair. Can you add any value to the decision making process?? Absolutely. Identify a major that will lead to a real job – that is a huge service. When you’ve found the right major, then find the schools offering that major, at a decent price that are an academic fit for the kid. You’ve just added a lot of value to this family.

  9. College – failure to plan really is a plan to fail. ‘He will figure out what he wants to do when he takes some courses’. No he won’t!! The 6 year grad rate for kids who enroll as ‘undeclared’ for their major is around 40%. The best thing you can do for a kid who isn’t sure what he wants to do is have him enroll in business courses. Accounting, marketing, econ, business law are all skills that every person should know, and everyone ultimately ends up working in a business, or govt.

  10. The biggest market-segment opportunity in the wealth/financial advising business is in successful college grads. Yes, the portfolios that you handle are growing thanks to the economic upturn. But the real future lies in new customer acquisition – of successful young people who will invest and grow with you for the next 50 years.