The College Money Guys December 2019


Award The


Send Your Kids to College, Keep Your Money at Home



I’m taking one for the turkeys this month. I’ve been seeing Christmas lights and hearing holiday music in stores since October , as if there weren’t any other important days between Halloween and Dec. 25. I’m no Scrooge, but I’m also not going to take the paving over of Thanksgiving lying down. Letter.” We were excited to introduce Austin Shears, our project manager, and felt like we could take a bit of a break from the seasonal theming. But at least we didn’t jump right into decking the halls with boughs of holly, right? It isn’t the lack of acknowledgment for Thanksgiving that is getting to me. What's getting to me is the reason why Christmas is becoming a two-month-long affair. I think it’s fair to say that people today have the same love for Christmas as their grandparents and great-grandparents had — so why didn’t they start the celebrations as early as we do now? Are we just that much more eager to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ than any generation that has come before us? I don’t think that’s the case. The only real explanation for Christmas creeping down the calendar is cold, hard capitalism. I’m a proud capitalist and have never begrudged anyone for trying to make a buck. I’m a business owner myself, after all. But I’m not convinced these big, multibillion- dollar companies should stretch out and commercialize such an important holiday just for their own ends. Not only is it disrespectful Now, to be fair, we didn’t run a Thanksgiving article in our last edition of “The Award

to the holy day itself, but it’s also drowning out one of the most vital celebrations we have in this country. Thanksgiving’s message is so incredibly simple but deeply important. “Be thankful.” That’s it! But in this increasingly online, consumer-driven age where most of our time is dominated by either buying things or working extra so we can buy more things, we don’t leave a whole lot of room to pause and just be grateful for what we have. And we have a lot. No other country on Earth has enjoyed the level of widespread prosperity as we do here in the USA. It’s been that way for so long that it’s easy for those of us who’ve been here our whole lives to lose sight of that. This is why we need Thanksgiving now more than ever. Sadly, as it stands, this tradition of gratitude has been relegated to an afternoon feast before people head out for an all-night shopping spree. It sends a mixed message, doesn’t it? “Be thankful for what you have, but

go buy much, much more.” But I don’t think it has to be this way. Rather than dampening the message of Thanksgiving, more companies should embrace it. After all, I can think of plenty of people every company can be grateful for — their customers! Rather than push us to go on a stressful shopping spree mere hours after Thanksgiving, maybe businesses, both big and small, can find a way to say thank you to those who support them. I certainly raise a toast to all our clients every Thanksgiving. And I mean it. You literally put food on my table and a roof over my family’s heads. Without you, College Money Guys wouldn’t be the success we are today. Thank you for your many years of support and the faith you put in us to help your children’s future. We’ll always work hard to be worthy of your trust.


–Bra nnon Lloyd

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Podcasting, once a niche medium, is now a towering feature of the audio media landscape. In 2019, a survey by Edison Research and Triton Digital estimated that over 30% of Americans tune in to podcasts each month, and that number is expected to grow. It’s no wonder business owners, hobbyists, storytellers, comedians, politicians, and even Dungeons & Dragons players have found their audience through podcasting. No matter your interest, if you want to break into this industry, you’ll need the right gear. MICROPHONES Nothing will sink a podcast faster than poor audio quality. It doesn’t matter how great your content is — if your audience can’t hear it clearly, they’ll tune out. That’s why even low-budget podcasters should consider dropping a little extra cash for a good mic.

A great starting option is the Rode PodMic. With an internal pop filter and built-in shock mount, this mic does a lot to clean up your audio on the front end. At $99, the PodMic is perfect for those who want to earnestly dip their feet in the recording world without breaking the bank. HEADPHONES You need to hear how you and your guests are being recorded in real time, and you need to gauge sound quality while editing your episodes. Thus, having a decent pair of headphones is important, especially if you plan on interviewing guests over video chat. Generally, over-the-ear headphones like Audio-Technica’s ATH-M30x model, which run about $70, are a better choice than earbuds for their superior sound quality, noise isolation, and comfort.


When it comes to audio editing software, great options are freely available. For example, if you’re a Mac user, you likely already have access to GarageBand, a highly user-friendly program that comes with pre- installed, royalty-free jingles you can use to spice up your content. PC and Mac users alike should also consider Avid’s Pro Tools | First — a free version of the sound mixing software used to make Hollywood movies! Learning to use this free software will save you plenty of money you can reinvest into your hardware.


“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 of 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 the 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 that 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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SENIORS: FOLLOW UP For students about to enter their final semester of high school, the light at the end of the tunnel is visible. Now they should make sure to tie up all loose ends: • Submit Applications Most schools have application deadlines that range between Jan. 1 to March 1. Make sure these documents, along with any required essays, letters of recommendation, and test scores, make it to your desired schools. A simple follow-up phone call can make a world of difference in ensuring your application made it. • Prep for Interviews Many schools will have regular decision interviews in the coming months. Having a family member quiz you on common questions can help you make a great first impression when these begin. And last, but not least, have fun! Winter break is a great chance to take a deep breath and prepare for the next semester. Enjoy time with friends and family, and head into the spring fresh and reenergized! POTATO LATKES

Winter break is almost here, allowing students of all ages to breathe a little easier, spend time with family, and recuperate before the spring semester. However, juniors and seniors still have some work to do if they want to make the most of the college application process. Here’s what each should get done this month: JUNIORS: PREPARE December is the time juniors should get serious about the college application process. Here’s how they should be using their time this month: • Make a List and Check It Twice Now is the time to put college names down on paper and sort them into schools you can reliably get into and ones you are willing to reach for. Keep the total list to under 15 schools to focus your research. If some are nearby, reach out to representatives from those colleges to learn more. • SAT/ACT Registration You may have taken the SAT and/or ACT earlier this year, but often the first time taking these exams can be a rough experience. If you feel you can improve on your score, even by a small margin, it’s worth retaking. Juniors can register for these tests in the spring, making winter break an ideal time to hit the books.


INGREDIENTS • 2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters • 2 large eggs • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

• 2 tsp kosher salt • 1 tsp baking powder • 1/2 tsp black pepper • Safflower or vegetable oil, for frying

DIRECTIONS 1. Using either a food processor with a coarse grating disc or the coarse side of a box grater, grate potatoes and onion. (If using a food processor, halve or quarter potatoes.) Once grated, wrap in a clean dish towel or cheesecloth to wring out as much moisture as possible. 2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper. 3. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan containing 1/4-inch of oil over medium-high heat. Use a heaping tablespoon to drop batter into the hot pan, working in batches. Use a spatula or spoon to form them into discs. Fry about 5 minutes per side, until deeply browned. 4. Transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack to drain, and serve alongside applesauce and sour cream.

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Is Thanksgiving Disappearing?

Launch a Podcast on a Budget


College Prep for Winter Break

Potato Latkes

Yurts: Glamping at Its Finest


The allure of the great outdoors calls to many, but pitching a tent and cooking over a fire isn’t for everyone. If that describes you, consider the yurt: a small, permanent structure often outfitted with electricity, plumbing, and other modern amenities. Expertly nestled in remote locations, they provide comforts of home in the midst of nature. Here are just a few around the United States available for rent. TREEBONES RESORT, CALIFORNIA For those new to the glamping scene, this is a great choice for an easy transition. With picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean, the Treebones Resort in Big Sur has an array of spaciously comfortable yurts to choose from. The resort has heated pools, a cozy lodge, and even a sushi bar. About an hour up the coastline, you can find a few shops, restaurants, and art galleries if you decide you’ve gotten your dose of nature for the day. SPRUCE HOLE YURT, COLORADO Nestled in the San Juan Mountains about 10 miles north of New Mexico, this yurt is a snow-lover’s paradise. Skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking trails are plentiful in this backcountry location. At the end of a chilly day, come home to comfy beds, cooking supplies, and decor made to feel like you’re camping — but with sturdy walls to keep out the cold. YURT SWEET YURT GLAMPING IN BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS

FALLS BROOK YURTS, NEW YORK For the glampers who truly want to get away, hike just under 1 mile into the woods of the Adirondack Mountains to discover rustic yurts beckoning you to cook over a fire or bundle up with a book. At night, the yurt’s domed skylight offers excellent stargazing. For those keen on winter activities, skiing and snowshoeing trails start right outside the front door. In the summer, enjoy hiking, fishing, and swimming.


Flynn Family Ullrich Family

Law Family Sharpe Family

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