I frequently hear from parents (my own wife included), school administrators (on endless robo-calls), and the media; that the week before school starts is just ‘crazy’, with new schedules to accommodate, school supplies to purchase, more traffic on the road, back-to-school night to schedule, medical forms to complete, homework to do, and so on.
At the risk of starting an argument in my own household, I say, Baloney!
Yes, the start of the school year brings sudden change, and a red-bullish jolt of reality as we return to the ‘regular’ rat race after the slower pace of summer.
But as parents, we all know that these Fall changes are imminent. Happens every year. And most of us have been doing this start-of-school drill in some form for at least 40 years, so why all the panic?
My theory: it’s a reflex. An involuntary fear/flight anticipatory response to the unknown in the long journey ahead. The antidote, of course, is to start. Most of the ‘panic’ is in the anticipation, the build-up, the unknown. Once school – and the real work – actually begins, the worry and the apprehension dissipates. The lesson: the antidote to ‘feeling’ panicked is to do something, to take action. To start.
Though many dramas -like the pre-school panic dance of above – are ones of our own making, parents of college-bound high schoolers, particularly 12th graders, are facing some real serious challenges this particular Fall. In addition to all the regular back-to-school mishugas, many parents are waking to the reality that their 529s and other college investment accounts are at a fraction of what they had hoped; that Florida’s Bright Futures merit scholarship has been slashed and that their FL Pre-paid will only cover a small fraction of the total cost of college attendance. Once again, there is a simple antidote. Take action. 97% of families will find themselves ‘short’ for college — and for most of them, there are real, tested and proven strategies to make college afffordable again! I have personally helped hundreds of South Florida families pay as little out of pocket as possible for great colleges. But you have to act. The time to get started on your college planning is now, regardless of how old your student is. The earlier you plan, the more choices you have. Whether your child is in 12th grade or 5th, or anywhere in between, if your advisor hasn’t asked you about your college plan in this volatile environment, it might be time for a new plan (and a new advisor).
I’m holding a Back-To-School Emergency College Funding workshop next Thursday evening, August 25 at the Pinecrest Community Center in Miami. I’ll cover:
- The biggest mistake parents make with FL Prepaid and other 529 plans
- The crucial questions parents should ask of every school on a student’s college list
- How a ‘pricey’ private college can cost less than a state school, even considering Bright Futures and FL Prepaid
- Why it’s taking, on average, 5+ years to graduate from college today and how to buck this trend
- How to compile a list of schools that maximize chances at both admissions and financial aid
This event is completely f.ree of charge. I do promise, however, that you will leave with valuable nuggets of information that can save the typical middle class family thousands of dollars off the cost of college. With the school year about to start, it’s time to get a plan together on how you will pay for college for your children. The best way to start is to attend my workshop. Click here to register. I look forward to seeing you there.