The College Money Guys - January 2020


Award The


Send Your Kids to College, Keep Your Money at Home



Another year has gone by. As is tradition, most people are likely coming up with and attempting to stick to their New Year’s resolutions right about now, but I want to call attention to a slightly lesser-known January practice, National Opposite Day. Yes, it’s a thing. Jan. 25, to be exact. So, while I’m normally not one for resolutions, I thought I might as well knock out two birds with one stone and write some Opposite Day resolutions to kick off 2020! Of course, I have to start off with my health. I’ve been slimmer and feeling better than I have in years, so it’s about time I put a stop to that! After all, those size 40 pants I used to wear have just been gathering dust in my closet — what a waste. Getting off lean cuts of meat and upping my fast food consumption is going to be tough, but if it means not having to use a belt anymore, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. In fact, why stop at ruining my diet? By 2021, I want to be smoking two packs a day and wear suits and ties exclusively. After all, breathing comfortably is overrated. Those well-dressed businessmen and mobsters you see smoking up a storm in those old movies must have been on to something! “But Brannon,” you may ask, “how are you going to update your wardrobe to a bunch of uncomfortable suits?” Well, concerned reader, that’s where my financial resolution comes into play. As the Houston Metro Director of the Foundation for Financial Education, I’m resolved to run up my credit card debt and only make minimum payments. After all, how

can I hope to help families in debt if I’m not deeply in the red myself? It’s going to be a tough sacrifice but one I’m willing to make. But enough about all the changes I’ll be making to my personal life this Opposite Day — let’s talk business. Honestly, we could be doing a lot more to help people in need here at The College Money Guys. For one thing, helping our families secure over $200,000,000 for college is really making high schools and guidance counselors look bad. We’re resolved to do less in order to keep these poor souls from having to work any harder than they allegedly do. In doing so, we hope to also provide some much-needed relief to the real victim of rising tuition prices: colleges themselves. It’s almost as if people just don’t want to spend a fortune on higher education these days. Sure, students today run the risk of living under debt the rest of their lives, but someone has to pay to polish those ivory towers of scholarship, right? The beautiful

quads and pristine brick buildings of ivy league schools certainly aren’t going to maintain themselves! This Opposite Day, our team is committed to reversing course and ensuring these wealthy institutions get to extract every last cent from hardworking families trying to give their children a future. Perhaps the biggest twist is that I’m even writing resolutions at all. Normally, I strictly adhere to the old Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second-best time is right now.” But in honor of Opposite Day, it only seems fair that I fight my usual instincts and tie these resolutions to an arbitrary point on the calendar. And, if you’re worried any of these horrible goals may come to pass — you have nothing to fear. The vast majority of resolutions fail, something that, for once, is A-okay with me.

Here’s to real, bright change this year,

–Bra nnon Lloyd

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Everyone relies on technology. Computers, laptops, tablets, and phones are staples of modern life. However, it’s easy for these devices to become cluttered with old photos, files, and general disorganization. Luckily, January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month and an excellent time to get your technology in order. START BY DUSTING Over time, computer towers can become clogged with dust, which creates additional, unwanted heat within your computer. Regular cleanings will increase the lifespan of your computer and protect its essential components. Compressed air is great for removing most of the dust and other particulates. If the fans or filters are too dirty, you can remove them from the tower to clean them better. If you use water or liquid cleaning products on them, be sure

they are completely dry before placing them back into your computer. ORGANIZE YOUR FILES Naming and arranging the files on your computer in such a way that they’re easy for you to find can end up saving you a lot of time. Declutter your workspace by creating one file for pictures, one for Word documents, one for spreadsheets, and one for programs to eliminate the hassle of frantically searching for the files you need. BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER Be sure to back up your computer before you start deleting things. This acts as a safety net in case you delete something you didn’t mean to. Additionally, consider installing a second hard drive. The extra space can help with storing important files without having to worry about how much room is left.

CLEAN UP SPACE Any files you’ll never use again should be deleted. Likewise, any programs you haven’t used in a while should be uninstalled. Check your hard drive for files that might be taking up unintended space on your computer. And remember to empty the recycling bin — it’s easy to forget just how much goes in there.


“We had a great experience with TCMG. They were very helpful and well-informed about the college application process.”

–Patricia Seller-Wolff

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As Brannon brings up on this month’s cover, National Opposite Day is this month! So, we thought we’d get in on the fun by sharing some advice that parents and students definitely shouldn’t take when applying to college. Again, this is a “what not to do” list, so if any of these actions sound familiar, it’s time to make some changes! APPLY TO JUST ONE SCHOOL. Sure, the vast majority of kids don’t get into every school on their list, and even those that accept them won’t all offer the best financial aid packages — but your child is special. Why not roll the dice with their education and your finances on a single long-shot college? Of course, regardless of how many you apply to, you only have to fill out the FAFSA once, so it’s not like you’re saving that much time or resources. But think of the incredible story they’ll have if they do get in on that one and only application! HECK, DON’T FILL OUT THE FAFSA. Who needs free money anyway? Why not just let schools look at your family and assume how well off you are — they’re sure to be a good judge of character and certainly won’t try to drive you or your student into debt.

Why do all the work getting this vital document filled out early with the help of our expert team and receive vital grants for your child’s education when you could just sit back and dream about all the money you’re going to be giving the overpriced institution of your choice. IS COLLEGE EVEN NECESSARY? The demand for technical, highly trained professionals may be increasing, and the untrained labor sector might not be what it used to be, but there’s no law against not going to college. Maybe your child has always planned on not fulfilling their dreams or of having their minimum wage job slowly replaced by robots over their lifetime. Why let something as trivial as a college education get in the way of such a bright future? Fun and games aside, higher education has never been more essential in the world today — nor has it been more expensive. To make college an affordable reality takes proactive measures like applying for financial aid and scholarships at a wide variety of schools to get the best possible offer. This can sound like a lot of work, but we’re here to guide you through the process every step on the way. EASY TOMATO SOUP


INGREDIENTS • 2 tbsp coconut oil • 4 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced • 6 cloves garlic, minced • 1 28-oz can roasted and diced tomatoes (Muir Glen Organic is a good brand) DIRECTIONS 1. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté leeks in coconut oil until softened and translucent, about 7–10 minutes. 2. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat. 3. Meanwhile, in a blender, purée entire can of tomatoes, including juice, until smooth. 4. Add sautéed leeks and garlic and purée again. 5. Transfer purée to a saucepan and add chicken broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then drop to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. 6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve. • 1 cup chicken broth • 8.5 oz coconut milk • Kosher salt • Freshly ground black pepper

Inspired by Nom Nom Paleo

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2000 North Loop West Suite 200 Houston, TX 77018 713.422.2720


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Resolving to Honor Opposite Day

Enter 2020 With an Organized Computer


The College Money Guys’ ‘What Not to Do’ List

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Easy Tomato Soup

Real Winter Wonderlands


Snow is magical and gorgeous — unless you have to commute in it. If you want to enjoy all the wonder that winter has to offer without the hassle, why not turn it into a vacation? Here are a few breathtaking, snow-covered destinations that any winter lover can enjoy. BULGUKSA TEMPLE, SOUTH KOREA Above the city of Gyeongju, this ancient Buddhist temple has stood on the slopes of Tohamsan Mountain since the eighth century. Bulguksa, or “Temple of the Buddha Land,” is South Korea’s No. 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it a popular attraction for domestic and international tourism. The crowds and school tours die down during the winter, however, which also happens to be when Bulguksa is at its most pristine. The iced- over lotus ponds and snow-dusted pagodas add to the sense of tranquility this site naturally exudes. THE DOLOMITES, SOUTH TYROL, ITALY If you want the feel of a ski trip to the Alps without the packed slopes and ritzy resorts, the Dolomites are just for you. Located in northeastern Italy, this stunning mountain range is home to some of the best skiing in Europe, as well as many historical sites. The secluded villages that dot the mountain valleys are an attraction in their own right, especially for the rustic cuisine ESCAPE TO A WINTER WONDERLAND CHILL OUT IN THESE FROSTY DESTINATIONS

you’ll find there. Don’t expect pasta though. This region is a melting pot of flavors from Austria, northern Italy, and the local Ladin people. Ricotta and sauerkraut pancakes, anyone? THE ANTARCTIC This is the one entry on this list that is best enjoyed during the summer months, which is December–February in the Southern Hemisphere, because that’s when the freezing temperatures of the southernmost continent are at their most hospitable. The Antarctic has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, with cruises taking adventure seekers through the vast, untouched beauty of this far-flung destination. Some tourists even enjoy kayaking or cross-country skiing through this icy paradise.

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