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Save BIG on College Expenses

Today's blog post is submitted by Productivity Coach Marla Brady. If you would like to be a guest blogger, email me at fran@catalystwealthplanning.com.

Being informed is the first step toward making great decisions about college.  That includes the cost and getting the career direction right.  You probably already know that the average student loan debt is at an all-time high of $30,000, but did you know that the average student with a bachelor degree takes 21 years to pay off that debt?  Imagine starting your career life and already being saddled with a payment that could impact your ability to purchase a car, house or even impact your potential employment.

Saving BIG on college can be greatly impacted by your actions during high school along with those saving and investment habits that occur long before high school.  I recently spoke with a parent who had informed his daughter that during her lifetime he had saved X amount of dollars toward her college education and that anything beyond that she would need to be considering grants, scholarships and possible loans.  It totally changed her perspective on how she approached her 4 year degree.  It may seem harsh, but reality hits the wall when school ends and the payments begin.  Payments that impact the student or the parent if the kids default on payments!

So, make no mistake, college is big business and as a paying client you need to use all of your savvy to make good decisions.   Things like:

  • Investigating and shadowing potential careers – by investing a small amount of time in shadowing an individual in the career field you are considering, you can get a feel for what your work life would look like and whether you would enjoy it or not.  A 2 hour Shadow experience can verify your hunch or it can save you thousands of dollars and semesters in school averting a mistake.
  • Consider taking a Highlands Ability Battery to identify best fit career options – it’s a 3 hour on line assessment that measures your Natural Abilities and identifies key elements to consider for your work life environment, how you interact with others, identifies key matches for careers and can even populate schools for majors that fit that your profile.
  • Identify colleges and universities that provide those majors – Using one of the tools integrated with The Highlands Ability Battery, you can locate schools in states or as specific as cities that provide majors for specific careers. This is a huge time and effort support!  
  • Create a college visit plan and specific tactics to get the biggest return on your visits – Using your resources through the Highlands Ability Battery and the expertise of a guiding professional, you can identify an effective college visit plan with targeted schools, programs, and a tool to effectively review your options and make a successful decision about your career path.  Believe it or not, marketing yourself for employment after college begins with the college search methodology!

By taking these steps before making college visits, you can specifically target programs and create a plan for a four year graduation. In and out! No becoming part of the national average of a 6 year graduation and tons of debt.  Invest your time and money wisely!  All that money you would have spent on a loan payment….invest it going forward!  Enjoy the college experience even more knowing you have protected your financial future.

If you are in need of assistance with making a decision about career direction, college search, essay support for the application process, or getting ready to enter the workforce and need resume’ assistance, you can reach Marla Brady at 561-376-7348 or marla@marlabrady.com.  You can also visit www.marlabrady.com for more information.