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What about college saving for my kids, grandkids, family

By FirstWave Financial®

Higher education funding is a very important goal for many families. Where your child or grandchild might eventually go for this education is too numerous to list: from State Colleges to Ivy League schools, two-year programs to ten years or more, trade schools to computer programming certificates, and everything in between.

Many people say that you should “set” goals. The way we approach it is a little different. Yes, you need to sit down and hash out your goals at some point. But we like to add another word to the equation: you should really sit down and clarify your goals.

The Goals Clarification Experience™

At FirstWave Financial, The Goals Clarification Experience is paramount to everything we do. It is built upon what’s really important to you and moves abstract desires into reality, providing the foundation for an ironclad plan for the future.

There are essentially three questions that will help to clarify this goal:

1| What is the goal?

The goal must be specifically named. In fact, it should be so specific that it would be impossible not to detect whether or not the goal has been met yet. For example, provide for 100% of the cost of a four-year State college education for three-year-old Johnny.

2| When will the goal be achieved?

This establishes a timeframe for the goal. Instead of being a wish for the future, this goal now has a deadline. The timeline should be what you desire. In this example, it would be in fifteen years when Johnny is eighteen years old.

3| What will the goal cost to achieve in today’s dollars?

This is just an estimate, of course, but it’s something important to quantify. For this example, let’s assume today it costs $30,000 per year for tuition, books, fees, room, and board at your State college of choice.

Now that your college education funding goal has been clarified you can investigate the various strategies available to you and the risks associated with them. These strategies can be broken into two categories: the timing of your funding and the vehicle you will use.

As far as timing goes, you can fund the amount that together with earnings over the next fifteen years, will provide the money needed when Johnny turns eighteen. Or you can fund it with a stream of periodic payments that together with earnings will accumulate to the money needed for college.

There are a lot more choices when it comes to the vehicle(s) you will use to accomplish this goal. The following table lists the major options with an example of the benefit and risks of each one.

The table does not identify all the benefits and risks of each of the options but does indicate which vehicle is suitable for all the circumstances. Sometimes a combination of several strategies is preferable. Choosing, for instance, to fund part of the projected college cost using a 529 plan and part of it from your investment portfolio when the need arises.

See the table below:

VehicleBenefit +Risk –
State Pre-Paid ProgramLocks in some of the costsJohnny doesn’t go to college – you only get your investment back – no interest
529 Plan529 plans can now be used for private primary education like high schoolControl over the account at the age of majority (age 21 in Florida)
Uniform Transfer to MinorsCan be used for needs other than collegeControl over the account at the age of majority (age 21 in Florida)
Uniform Transfer to MinorsUniform Transfer to Minors

The joy that comes from knowing your loved ones will have flexibility and choices when it comes to their higher education because of the resources you have set aside is so rewarding.

To find out how we can help you transform the complexity and confusion surrounding this important topic into your improved WealthConfidence, call us today at (321)773-7773 to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our WealthCoaches™. For more information about FirstWave Financial, check out our website at

“You should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this publication serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from FirstWave Financial. A copy of the FirstWave’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.”

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