Send Your Kids to College, Keep Your Money at Home
A BEAUTIFUL GAME CHESS, PROJECT MANAGEMENT, AND AUSTIN SHEARS
This June we added a new edition to The College Money Guys team! Austin Shears has come on as our Projects Manager, making sure everything we do here at the office is shipshape! While he may be a fresh face here at the office, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Austin for years, and I couldn’t be happier to have him on the team. His thoughtful pragmatism has made life easier on all of us, making it that much easier to serve you! So, without further adieu, here’s a look at the man working the magic behind the scenes at The College Money Guys. Thanks, Brannon! As he points out, I’ve been a family friend of the Lloyd’s for years and was excited to come on board with The College Money Guys. The learning curve for becoming our sole Projects Manager was steep, but that’s part of the reason I relished the opportunity so much. I’ve never been one to back away from complex problems. You see, I’m a big chess fan. I play, I watch videos of professionals playing at the highest levels, and, up until I took on this new role, I helped the next generation of players improve their game. I’ve tutored chess players at schools across Houston, including Awty International and Annunciation Orthodox. I loved passing on the skills and mindset that have helped me over the years — not just in chess but in life. The easiest example is the way the game prepares you to take in a lot of information all at once. To stand a chance in chess, you need to keep your eyes on multiple horizons, not only where the pieces are pointed right now, but also where they may move next. Now, being –Bra nnon Lloyd
We have so much that has to get done here every single day — it’s part of why this is such a spectacular job. Everyone on this team knows how to hustle, and I thrive on that energy. But making sure everyone has what they need and is working on the right tasks at the right time means juggling a lot of information at once. I’m very grateful to have spent so much time mastering a game that revolves around that core concept. Of course, it was hard to hit the ground running. I’ll freely admit I made my fair share of mistakes when stepping into this role. In fact, I’m glad I did. These initial stumbles were how I quickly learned the full scope of the job. This is, again, another lesson I picked up from chess. Chess, much like life, has a system of accountability. If you make a bad move, you are going to feel the ramifications. What separates good chess players from bad is how you react to those misplays. I saw this all the time with younger students. Many had the tendency to blame their opponent and cry foul when they lost rather than look to the moves they made themselves. One of my main goals as a teacher was to help them see that accepting they made the wrong move was the first step in learning from it. That’s how you get better at chess and that’s how you improve yourself in life. Thanks to this lesson, I’ve been able to take the challenges life throws at me in stride. I’m proud to help the rest of The College Money Guys’ team make a difference for so many families dreaming of sending their kids to college. In a way, it’s my job to make sure we all make the best moves we can, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
responsible for keeping all of our projects moving, I find I often think the way I do when I’m seated at the chessboard.
–Austi n Shea rs
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CHING SHIH: HISTORY’S MOST SUCCESSFUL PIRATE LEGEND OF THE PIRATE QUEEN
From Blackbeard to Jack Sparrow, pop culture teems with pirates who frequented the ports of the Caribbean. And while these pirates are well-known for their (sometimes fictional) accomplishments, the most successful pirate in history terrorized the seas of China instead. Her name was Ching Shih. Ching Shih, who was born Shih Yang, was working in a Cantonese brothel when she met the pirate Zheng Yi. He came from a long family of notorious pirates and was impressed by Ching Shih’s cunning. They married in 1801 and built a pirate empire known as the Red Flag Fleet. When Zheng Yi passed away suddenly in 1807, Ching Shih strategically maneuvered her way into leadership, taking control of over 60,000 pirates.
and a harsh disciplinarian. After taking control of the fleet, Ching Shih implemented a strict code of conduct. The code included rules for distributing booty, protecting female captives, and beheading anyone who disobeyed Ching Shih. Under her rule, the bloody crimes of piracy became a profitable business. The Red Flag Fleet would eventually clash with the British Empire, the Portuguese Empire, and the Qing dynasty of China, but no one could topple the pirate queen. After almost a decade of pillaging the high seas, Ching Shih decided piracy wasn’t the best retirement plan. In 1810, she walked into the office of a local governor-general, completely unarmed, and requested full pardons and government jobs for her entire crew — along with permission to keep all their stolen goods. In exchange, she promised to give up piracy for good. Thankful to be free of
the Red Flag Fleet, the Chinese government agreed to her terms. Ching Shih’s second husband was even made an officer in the Chinese navy. Ching Shih returned to Canton with her vast wealth and spent the next 34 years living a life of comfort with her family and running a gambling den. In 1844, the legendary pirate queen passed away of old age at 69, a rare feat for pirates of her era.
Historians describe Ching Shih as a brilliant military strategist, a skilled businesswoman,
OUR CLIENTS SAY IT BEST
“The College Money Guys not only have saved us around $30K in expenses, but they also cared enough about us to help us find the right college for each of our first two kids, and number three is getting close. They give a lot of very good advice that has helped our boys with SATs and ACTs, and they’ve conducted practice sessions to get our boys comfortable with college interviews. They conduct informative monthly teleconferences and help with the awful paperwork of applying to the colleges, including giving advice on the essays, and they help immensely with the FAFSA and other financial aid paperwork. Brannon and the rest of
the group can answer any question you have, and if they can’t talk at the moment, they’re aces at returning phone calls and responding to emails. “Bottom line: My wife and I have found that getting into and paying for college isn’t what it was in 1981, and to get into the college of your child’s desire while trying to keep the expenses down, it is certainly worth it to have CMG’s expertise and assistance working with you!”
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COMMON APPLICATION MISTAKES
FAFSA — it’s an acronym thrown around so much in the college-planning process that it begins to lose its meaning. So, let’s get back to basics. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form designed to gauge how much financial assistance a current or prospective college student is eligible for. The importance of this form is hard to overstate, yet so many families make errors when filing it. Here’s a guide to help you avoid these very preventable mistakes. WRONG INFORMATION
meant for your student (this happens very often). Another common mistake is entering the wrong income tax amount. This is not the amount of income tax that was withheld, nor is it your annual gross income. This number should be your assessed income tax liability. EXCLUDING COLLEGES Many students fail to list all the schools they are applying to in their FAFSA form. This is a huge mistake because it prevents colleges from being able to assess your need for financial aid. In fact, in many states, like Texas, listing state schools on your FAFSA is the only way to be considered eligible for state-based grant aid. PROCRASTINATING
come, first-served basis. If two families have identical financial information on their forms, the family that sends in their application first will likely receive the greater amount of aid — you don’t want your FAFSA to come in when the coffers are running empty. Procrastination on the FAFSA also exacerbates other mistakes. If your form has errors and gets sent back to you, you’re going to be even later getting it in on time. You may even miss the deadline entirely!
HAVE A LAUGH While it’s important to get your FAFSA in as soon as possible, you still need to take the time to understand the directions and fill out the form correctly. After all, you don’t want to waste precious time making corrections! Be sure to enter your information as a parent or guardian in the appropriate fields and not in the sections
This is by far the most damaging error you could make. FAFSAs are evaluated on a first-
BURNISHED POTATO NUGGETS
INGREDIENTS • 5 lbs russet potatoes,
• 8 cloves garlic, crushed • 2 sprigs rosemary • Kosher salt, to taste
peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
DIRECTIONS 1. Heat oven to 425 F.
2. In a large pot, pour water over potatoes to cover by 2 inches. Salt water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. 3. Thoroughly drain potatoes and let stand for 10 minutes. Toss gently and season with salt. 4. Meanwhile, combine both oils in a large pan and heat in oven for 10 minutes. 5. Remove pan from oven and add potatoes, turning to coat thoroughly. Return to oven and cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10. 6. Toss in garlic and rosemary and finish cooking for 8–10 minutes. 7. Drain and serve.
Inspired by Bon Appétit
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2000 North Loop West Suite 200 Houston, TX 77018 713.422.2720
“HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY.” –VINCE LOMBARDI INSIDE
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Life Lessons From Chess
History’s Most Successful Pirate
FAFSA Mistakes That Will Cost You
Burnished Potato Nuggets
Stay in a Real Castle
BONUS MONEY-SAVING CONTENT INSIDE!
CARCASSONNE THE REAL MAGIC KINGDOM
Every year, tourists flock to Disney’s “Magic Kingdom” and marvel at Cinderella’s iconic castle. As fun as it is to see this Florida-based attraction, it would be even more magical to step back in time and visit a real medieval citadel. What if you could walk the same ramparts as Roman legionnaires and climb the same towers as French kings? If this idea gives you goosebumps, pack your bags for Carcassonne, France. A four-hour train ride from Paris, towering above the rolling vineyards of southern France, you’ll find one of the most intact, accessible castles in Europe. With sweeping, concentric walls and 53 elegant towers, the Cité de Carcassonne is a breathtaking sight. Once an impenetrable border fortress between the kingdoms of France and Aragon, the gates now stand open to anyone curious enough to walk its cobblestone streets.
In fact, you can stay in the ancient city yourself. The five-star Hotel de la Cité Carcassonne occupies a former bishop’s palace and overlooks the inner ramparts of the fortress. With medieval tapestries and gorgeous woodwork in the hotel’s interior, you’ll feel like you’re living among French royalty. Of course, if you’d prefer lodging with the commoners, plenty of quaint bed-and- breakfasts exist just across the Aude river. With rustic cafes, fresh crepes, and bustling crowds making their way down the twisting cobblestone streets, the surface-level experience of Carcassonne would be enticing to anyone wanting to explore the French countryside. But for those who want to delve into the history of this storied castle, grand narratives await you.
were built by Louis IX and Phillip III, a section of the inner wall is far older. The red brick used in this part of the construction dates back to before the existence of France itself. Roman troops first fortified the hillside town around 100 BCE, giving every stone of this site a story to tell. If you’ve ever dreamed of experiencing medieval life for yourself, your adventure awaits in Carcassonne.
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Lucord Family Eleuterius Family
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Just walking the walls of Carcassonne paints a picture of the past. While the outer fortifications
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