The College Money Guys Sept 2017

September 2017

Award The


Send Your Kids to College, Keep Your Money at Home


The College Money Guys Process Finding the Best Option for Both Parents and Students

When a new family comes to us seeking financial help for college, we start by getting a snapshot of their current financial picture. Unfortunately, the FAFSA only takes into account one aspect of your finances: what you have right now. It doesn’t see that you were laid off and are now dependent on savings, the expenses for your small business, or that you regularly send money to family abroad. We ask, “What does the government say about your finances, and what is actually going on?” That way, we can alter your finances in your favor. We also figure out what your budget is. If your budget is $20,000 a year on college, we look to see if you have $80,000 lying around. If not, we ask, “How can we get the $80,000 we need?” During this time, we also take a social analysis of the student to figure out their interests and determine if they are ready for college. If the student enjoys working with their hands, for example, taking up a trade like welding or plumbing can be a better fit than going to school right away. Or, if it’s clear that the student is only interested in partying, taking a gap year to work makes more sense. Once we know that the student is ready to succeed in college, we work with the students to figure out what the job market is like in their field of interest. Sometimes, a student will come in wanting to major in architecture, but after researching their field’s job market on Careerbuilder, a career-researching website, they’ll realize that there are only four jobs open. Then we’ll ask them, “Are you still interested in architecture?” We always want the kids to arrive to that decision on their own, though. It doesn’t matter how much a parent wants their kid to major in pre-med or accounting; if the kid isn’t interested on their own, it won’t happen.

forget that I’m dealing with two of the most stress-inducing things for parents — kids and money. They are entrusting me with their children and money, which is extremely humbling and a huge honor. The reality is that people will spend more money on college than they spend on their first house, but they’ll only have four years to pay it off instead of 30. Our goal is to give families the groundwork to make sure that they not only have enough money to pay for college, but that college will be a good investment for what their child wants to do.

At College Money Guys, there are definitely times when we have to play a mediator role between parents and the student. But I never

The reality is that people will spend more money on college than they spend on their first house, but they’ll only have four years to pay it off instead of 30.

– Bra nnon Lloyd

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THE UNSTOPPABLE RISE OF THE BULLET JOURNAL The New Journaling System That’s Taken Social Media by Storm

In the modern age, where the internet is constantly flooded with productivity apps and trends promising to fix our schedules, unlock our potential, and improve our lives, it’s difficult not to wish for something simpler. We want an object we can hold in our hands that doesn’t come with a bunch of unwanted features.

bearing intricate calligraphy and embellished with incredible designs. As the bullet journal’s creator, Ryder Carroll, told New Republic writer Josephine Wolff, “The most valuable part of the bullet journal [is] the inventiveness of its community.” But don’t be daunted by users who seem to spend hours on every page of their journals. Really, it’s a simple system that only takes a few minutes to learn. Check out to learn how to start your own modular notebook. But be warned: You may get obsessed.

Enter the bullet journal: the humble, easy-to-use notebook system that’s taken the world by storm.

Instead of maintaining a separate to-do list, calendar, and diary, the bullet journaling system rolls everything into a single economical notebook. Partitioned into minimalistic “modules” — the Index, the Future Log, the Monthly Log, and the Daily Log — bullet journals encourage you to write down everything on your to-do list, single-line tidbits recounting important daily events, and little notes you take throughout the day. Everything is marked by a particular bullet: dots for tasks, circles for events, and dashes for notes. At the beginning of each month, bullet journalers examine last month’s list, eliminating completed or now-irrelevant tasks and migrating long-term or continuing tasks to the current month. Bullet journals may seem simple, and they are, but they’ve acquired an explosive following on social media. At the time of this writing, there are over 791,000 posts on Instagram tagged with the #bulletjournal hashtag; there are posts upon posts of users’ beautiful layouts,

Our Clients Say It Best

Sonya Kelly

Sonya Kelly started with the College Money Guys in July 2017 and is responsible for the coordination and administration of the office. Sonya’s work experience spans the globe, from an oil business in the U.K. to managing a horse ranch in Bellville, Texas. Sonya brings her wide and varied experiences to her role as director of first impressions here at The College Money Guys.

“Navigating the stormy path of college admission processes has always been a frightening issue for our family. When you couple that with the astronomically high costs of college education, it was like … where do we go from here? We have always thought that private colleges and universities were surely out of reach for us. “Our association with The College Money Guys team has been a great blessing, and they opened our eyes to otherwise hidden horizons in the college admissions process. “They taught us how to bring together the various factors and elements that must be considered in order to get everything right. They took us by the hands and led us toward the best college experience, best education, and best assurance of an excellent outcome. Most of all, they helped us have little out-of-pocket expense. “I would give an open check for their expertise and excellent customer service! We would like to express our deep appreciation to the entire TCMG team, especially Brannon, Kurt, and indefatigable Ashley. Thank you, all!”

Sonya was born in Scotland and moved to the United States in 2001. She was the manager of the Kelly household for 17 years. Sonya manages the office’s day-to-day activities, making sure that advisors, parents, and students have a productive and pleasant visit with The College Money Guys. Sonya loves to spend time outside with her three children, driving fast cars with her husband, and attending Zumba classes and festival concerts with her friends. She also enjoys travel, loves Mexican food, and is a huge fan of the theatre (especially “The Lion King”).

–Simeon S.

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5 Activities for Your Child’s College Search A college search is a complicated process involving essays, forms, application deadlines, and mountains of paperwork. Here are five things you should do to make your child’s college search easier! 1. Visit Colleges and Universities Does your child want a small town or a big city environment? Do they want big or small class sizes? Are fraternities or sororities important? Does the school have a big-time sports tradition or are they focused on the arts? Visiting a variety of colleges throughout the year will allow your child to answer these questions for themselves. 2. Have Your Child Take a Test Prep Course The good colleges are getting more and more competitive. If they receive applications from two students with the exact same grades and extracurriculars, guess who they’ll pick? The student with the higher scores, of course. Taking a test prep program with an instructor who knows the ins and outs of the test can make all the difference in getting your child into their dream school. 3. Look for Funded vs. Non-Funded Colleges When your child is searching for colleges, make sure they apply for colleges that show financial wealth, not just ones that show popularity or the size of the school. As acceptance letters begin to roll in, there won’t

be disappointment in knowing they have to decline based on the college’s endowments and financial aid options. To learn more, The Princeton Review’s “The Best 381 Colleges, 2017 Edition” is an excellent resource to guide both you and your student. 4. Organize Your Finances Do you have money saved in your child’s name? Are you putting aside money into your retirement plan this year? Do you know how much your home is worth according to the financial aid formulas? If you’re not sure, this is the perfect time to find out! Not knowing the answers to those questions could cost you thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands, in financial aid. 5. Don’t Procrastinate It’s human to struggle with planning. Failing to plan will cost you, both in dollars and lost opportunities for your child. Instead of following the crowd, be ahead of the curve! Instead of blowing things off until later in the year, ensure your child’s financial future is good to go as early as possible.



INGREDIENTS 1 cup all-purpose flour

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4 cups chopped, peeled apples

3/4 cup rolled oats

1 cup packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract Vanilla ice cream, optional


1. Heat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of mixture into a greased 2½ quart baking dish or a 9-inch square baking pan. Cover with apples. 2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water, and vanilla. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thick and clear. Pour over apples. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. 3. Bake 60–65 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm, with ice cream if desired. Recipe courtesy of

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2000 North Loop West Suite 200 Houston, TX 77018 713.422.2720


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The College Money Guys Process The Unstoppable Rise of the Bullet Journal Testimonials Look for Funded vs. Non-Funded Colleges Winning Apple Crisp Yellowstone: Where the Wild Things Are BONUS MONEY-SAVING CONTENT INSIDE!

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Where the Wild Things Are The Unspoiled Natural Majesty of Yellowstone National Park

This fall, skip the expensive hustle and bustle of an overcrowded theme park. After a vacation like that, you’ll feel like you need another.

the park, you’re apt to see moose, deer, elk, mountain goats, and, if you’re lucky, grizzly bears, mountain lions, or wolves.

As far as getaway destinations go, Yellowstone National Park, sprawling across Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, is a little more expansive. More than 3 million visitors flock to its astonishing peaks, multicolored pools, and dramatic geothermal geysers each year, but as you travel across Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres, it’s unlikely you’ll see much of them. And the sheer variety of unparalleled activities to explore means fun for the whole family. Make sure to check out Old Faithful, the most famous geothermal geyser in the world, with eruptions averaging a whopping 130 vertical feet. Or if it’s majesty and exploration you’re itching for, hike one of the many trails along the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. The views, with clay cliff faces and tree-covered mountains in every direction, are unlike any other. Also, be sure to investigate the Grand Prismatic Spring, which, besides its otherworldly rainbow waters, is known for being the largest hot spring in the U.S. For many, though, the biggest draw of the park is the wildlife. Yellowstone is home to the largest bison population on public land. It houses more mammals than anywhere else in the lower 48 states, 150 species of birds, and huge populations of native fish, to name a few. Just driving around

Go boating, catch a fish, scale a mountain, ride a horse — the things to do vary as much as the breathtaking landscape. If you’re looking for an affordable, relaxed, and wide-open family vacation this fall, Yellowstone is a no-brainer.

Thank you for your referrals!

A special thanks to the Hastreiter family, the Wolff family, the Wilson family, the Durrance family, the Schaberg family, and the Wright family for sending us referrals! It’s the nicest compliment you could give us! Published byThe Newsletter Pro •

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