7 Strategies to Lower Private College Costs

If given the choice, many students would love to have the opportunity to attend one of the nation’s reputable private schools. In general they offer smaller student to teacher ratios, a more intimate learning experience and the ability to graduate within four years, as opposed to the average of five or six years at a public college.

Private colleges continue to provide considerable institutional aid for good students. Since private colleges receive little or no support from state tax dollars, many private colleges must offer institutional aid to stay competitive with the lower priced state colleges. (more…)

Does Goal-Setting Give You Stress?

This piece on goal-setting (reprinted with permission from Money Quotient) is one that I share with my clients during the initial stages of our Financial Life Planning ® goal-setting process. The article offers “7 Tips” for setting effective goals – insights that can help you laser-focus on the right goals for you.


“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”
Franklin Roosevelt


Full-time Work to Full-time Mom and Back to Work Again – My Story

When my first child was born in 1999, I returned to my career as if nothing had changed. I continued to excel in my career for nearly six years, through the birth of our second child, by outsourcing my Mom Job to a nanny during the week. At the time, there were just two choices available to me: to continue working full-time outside the house, or to quit working altogether. I mean, what else was there, right?

Here are a few of the lessons I have learned about returning to work after an extended absence…

“If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.” ~ Anna Quindlen (more…)

Financial Life Planning – That’s Right, Another Plan for a Better Life

Family PlanningI already know exactly what you’re thinking as you read the title of this piece, “Oh no, not another plan to make my life better! I’m all planned out!” I understand; I really do. The good news is, this type of planning is not another plan, it’s more like a merging of plans; the merging of your finance planning goals with your goals for life.

What is Financial Life Planning®?

Financial Life Planning is a holistic process that puts your interests first and focuses on increasing your sense of financial well-being and life satisfaction. Initially, this process will help you to clarify your values, priorities, circumstances, and aspirations; and then guide you in defining and designing your unique version of the “rich life.” In addition, Financial Life Planning will increase your understanding of the habits and attitudes that will facilitate your financial and life goals and support successful life transitions. (more…)

Rethinking Work and Retirement

Writers are taught that all stories must have a beginning, middle, and an end. Our lives have a similar structure; the beginning is the first 25 years, where we learn to live a “grown-up” life. The middle is the next 25 years, where we work to provide for our family and save for retirement. The end is – well, that is the new question for the 21st Century. Is the end of our life story retirement, doing nothing but lounging on a beach for the next, and last, 25 years? Is that what you see for yourself, or would you rather shoot for something more?

It is time to invent a new stage of life: The 3rd Act; The Encore; or Pre-Retirement, or “Pretirement.” It can be called by many different names, but it is all about living life intentionally, the way we want to live, without waiting for “one-day,” or “someday,” or even for “retirement,” whatever that may mean to you. And that is the key, whatever it may mean TO YOU. (more…)

Conscious Spending – How do You Manage Your Cash Flow?

Huh? Yep, it turns out, simply depositing a paycheck and paying bills has nothing to do with cash flow. That is just making and spending money. Anyone can do that. Managing your cash flow though is another matter – an important one.

A certified finance planner can coach you in effective cash flow management, helping you to discover where you are spending your money, and how to better control the flow of cash through your fingers. This is known as “conscious spending.” (more…)

6 Major Sources of Financial Aid

By Guest Blogger: Jodi Okun, Founder of College of Financial Aid Advisors

The cost of financing a child’s college education can be daunting to many families. Generally the family is the source of the primary support; however, financial assistance does exist.

The federal government administers six major financial assistance programs. Three of these programs are direct assistance programs, with the assistance going directly to the student. The other three programs are administered through the college that the student attends and funds are sent directly to the college, which in turn dispenses the money to the student in accordance with federal guidelines. (more…)

Envisioning Retirement – OMG, What if You Live to Age 100 (or Older!)?

Average life expectancy in the US has increased by 1 ½ years in the first decade of the 21st Century (2000-2010), with fully 2% of the population living to 100 years old or longer (US Census Bureau 2008). With average life expectancy nearing 80 years and climbing, planning for retirement has become more critical than ever, as you may live a third of your life after working (more…)

College Financial Planning for Middle School Parents

Refining the vision

With kids in middle school and becoming increasingly independent, the family’s financial priorities have likely shifted from the early parenting years. You or your spouse may have reentered the workforce, changed jobs or maybe started a business. Perhaps you bought a larger house, went through a divorce or saw your retirement savings shrink in the market downturn. Meanwhile, your child’s college years are growing ever closer.

Now is the time to review priorities and refine your college savings goals. So, let’s put a price tag on that vision.

Yes, college costs will change by the time your children are ready to enroll. But working toward a poorly defined goal is one of the best ways to produce well-defined stress. (more…)

Personal Retirement Planning Should Include Wellness Planning

Healthy living is not just a fad; is not just something to do to feel better now. Unexpected health care costs can have devastating effects on your retirement, regardless of how diligently you’ve prepared yourself. When you ask yourself the question, “What is retirement planning?” health and wellness must be included in the answer.

A qualified finance planner can help you with every aspect of personal retirement planning; including investments for retirement, as well as helping you understand the value of health and wellness in retirement. (more…)