The College Money Guys - February 2020


Award The


Send Your Kids to College, Keep Your Money at Home



Well, it finally happened. I’m turning 52 this month, and my midlife crisis has struck. I’ve gone and bought myself not one but two motorcycles — one for the city and one for cruising. The Houston Motorcycle Exchange gave me a great price so I could get riding right away. In fact, as of the very morning I’m writing this, I’ve officially earned the M certification of my license, meaning I’m clear to hit the open road! Of course, if I’m being honest, this isn’t my first time riding. Years and years ago, the day before my wedding, my buddies and I went climbing at Enchanted Rock near Fredericksburg. One of my friends had taken his motorcycle up from Houston, but he wasn’t feeling up to riding all the way back down south. So I said, “Why not?” and volunteered to ride it back while he took my place in the car. I’ll never forget that first ride, heading down long stretches of Texas highway, feeling the freedom of the open air and the exhilaration of the asphalt rushing by beneath my feet. Put simply, it was just a lot of fun. But I didn’t make the call to get a ride of my own until I sat down with a client of mine last year. This was in Washington D.C., and I was speaking with a member of the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. We’d both served our country and started swapping stories until, eventually, motorcycling came up. We bonded over riding, which is when he brought up the CVMA. The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association is a national group

made up of members who served in all branches of the U.S. armed forces who love to ride as a hobby. With the moto “vets helping vets,” the CVMA is a great group of former service members who have taken it upon themselves to support one another through a shared love of motorcycles. They aren’t a motorcycle club — I’m not about to go all “Sons of Anarchy” here. I’m just happy to have a great group of people who can rekindle my passion for the hobby and show me some great routes through our beautiful state and maybe beyond. At the time of writing, I’m in the process of joining Chapter 23-4 of the CVMA, and I hope to be a full-fledged member by the time this

mails. I’ve already been contacted by my mentor in the association, a gentleman by the name of T-Rex. One thing’s for certain, I’m entering a brave new world. So, whether this is a midlife crisis or just the rekindling of a passion I had since my 20s, I don’t mind. We all need a little fun in our lives. A lot of parents express to me that they “don’t know what they’ll do” after their kids all go off to college. While my answer isn’t going to be “learn to ride a motorcycle,” it’s going to be in that spirit. Think back to the hobbies, arts, or simple joys you enjoyed in your youth. Rediscovering such joys can be one wild ride.

Here’s to 52,

–Bra nnon Lloyd

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In college, arriving late to class might earn you a stern look from your professor, and turning in homework late normally results in a docked grade. For one student, however, these actions resulted in veneration from the academic community and a story that has become legend. George Dantzig, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, arrived late for a graduate statistics class one day in 1939. He saw that his professor, Jerzy Neyman, had written two problems on the board, and guessing they were the homework assignment, he wrote them down to solve later. A few days later, Dantzig delivered his answers to Professor Neyman. He apologized for turning them in late, remarking that they seemed more difficult than usual. When Neyman told him to just throw the answers on his desk, Dantzig reluctantly did so, fearing his

homework would be lost forever in the sea of papers already there. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Six weeks later, Neyman went to Dantzig’s house and excitedly asked him to read the introduction he had written on one of Dantzig’s papers. Of course, Dantzig had no idea what he was talking about. Over the course of the conversation, however, he found out that the two difficult problems he had thought were homework were actually examples of famous unsolved statistical proofs — and Dantzig had solved them! Neyman published the first of the two proofs soon after. Then, a year later when Dantzig was struggling to decide on his doctoral thesis topic, his professor just shrugged and told him to wrap the two problems in a binder. Neyman said he would accept them as his thesis.

Dantzig’s story has been retold in various versions over the years often as an illustration of what a person is capable of when they think positively. After all, Dantzig may not have solved these proofs if he believed they were “unsolvable!” However, even though some versions might lean more toward urban legend, it’s still an impressive story of the best consequence a student ever received for arriving to class and turning in homework late.


“We worked with The College Money Guys for the last 2 1/2 years of our daughter’s high school career. What a difference they made! There are so many things about the college process that ‘you don’t know that you don’t know,’ and they are masters at knowing these things. Between applying for numerous schools, test advising, test prep, essays, applications, FAFSAs, scholarships, volunteerism, and everything else, there are so many things to know. Their invaluable insight and advice made all

the difference. The monthly webinars are insightful and helpful. Working with Brannon and everyone at TCMG was interesting and pleasant. The end result is our college-freshman daughter is incredibly happy and we’re not paying a lot of money! We know working with The College Money Guys made all the difference in the world. Thanks, Brannon. You guys are the best!”

–Mylinda Tubbs Faircloth

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The college application essay is one of the most dreaded steps in the process for students. Chances are they already get their fill of writing homework assignments, and the prospect of authoring something that gives total strangers a unique window into their life can be intimidating. But with a little creativity, the process can actually be insightful and even fun. NO SUCH THING AS A ‘BORING LIFE’ Many students feel that finding a subject to write their essay on is a lost cause from the start. They may have friends who grew up seeking out incredible adventures or who overcame great adversity to get where they are, and it’s easy to let those stories make their life seem mundane. But the simplest routine, hobby, or moment can make for great reading as long as your student is passionate about it. ANYTHING GOES Writing about something seemingly mundane and explaining why it’s actually a valuable, meaningful, or otherwise formative part of your life is a particularly powerful essay style. The surprising premise hooks readers in, and the personal angle says a lot about the author — just as any great

college application essay should. Anything from a guitar or video game to memories of soccer practice or a family vacation can be great launching points for this. What matters is that your student cares about it and would be excited to share why. INSPIRATION ABOUNDS Knowing how to take one of these seemingly simple passions and turn it into an essay can seem difficult at first. However, there are plenty of great examples of compelling writing in this style. Anthologies like “The Best American Essays 2019” can contain many stunning examples of writers who took a small subject and made it meaningful. While not in print format, YouTube can also be a surprisingly good source of inspiration, with video essay series like “Lessons Animation Taught Us” showing how even the cartoons of our childhood can be profoundly important. But most importantly of all, this approach can be exciting. Rather than trying to tackle a subject that seems like “college material” and stretching to fill the word count, students should write about what they love. Chances are they’ll find they have more to say than can fit in one essay.



INGREDIENTS • 1 1/2 cups flour • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder • 1/2 tsp salt • 2 extra ripe bananas, mashed • 1 cup soy milk DIRECTIONS 1. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

• 2 tbsp maple syrup • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted • 1 tsp vanilla extract • Cooking spray

2. In a separate bowl, whisk bananas, soy milk, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla together. 3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir. Don’t overmix. Lumps are okay. 4. Spray a heated pancake griddle with cooking spray, and scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the griddle. Repeat until the griddle is filled. 5. After 3 minutes or when bubbles appear, flip each pancake. 6. After each pancake has risen to double its initial height, remove from griddle. Repeat as necessary until batter is gone. 7. Serve with your favorite toppings!

Inspired by My Darling Vegan

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One Wild Ride

The World’s Hardest Homework Assignment


College Essay Writing Tips

Vegan Banana Pancakes

Your Epic Adventure Awaits


One of the oldest stories in Western literature is Homer’s “The Odyssey.” This epic poem tells the story of Odysseus and his long journey home after the Trojan War. While Odysseus’ travels were fraught with mythical monsters and magic, many of the places he visited are said to be inspired by real islands in the Mediterranean. Even today, travelers flock to these islands looking for peace, adventure, and epic stories of their own. SICILY, ITALY One of the most popular stories in “The Odyssey” is the tale of Odysseus rescuing his crew from Polyphemus, a man-eating Cyclops. It’s said that Polyphemus made his home on what is now modern-day Sicily. Fortunately, there are no Cyclopes in Sicily today; there are only cultural festivals, world- class golf courses, and delicious food. GOZO, MALTA While Odysseus’ journey was perilous, he did enjoy one peaceful stop. Odysseus spent seven years on the mythical island of Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso. Historians suspect that Ogygia was Gaudos, now modern-day Gozo, Malta. Gozo is home to the Ġgantija temples, which are CREATE YOUR OWN ODYSSEY MYTHICAL ADVENTURES AWAIT IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

older than the Egyptian pyramids. In addition to exploring its archaeological marvels, Gozo’s visitors can also enjoy snorkeling, horseback riding, and other memorable adventures. ITHACA, GREECE If you want to chart your own odyssey, make your final stop Odysseus’ home, the island of Ithaca. Covered in lush greenery and quaint villages, Ithaca is a wonderful place to relax at the end of your trip. Visitors can enjoy their morning coffee by a seaside cafe before lounging on a secluded beach for the rest of the day. It’s no wonder why Odysseus fought so hard to get back to Ithaca!

With dozens of other islands to explore, the Mediterranean is the perfect place to plan your own odyssey — minus the mythical monsters, of course.

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