Education

Under the Hood: Investment Allocation for 529 Savings Plans

Contributed by: Matthew E. Chope, CFP® Matt Chope

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As many parents and grandparents know, 529 plans can be a wonderful strategy for families to help build college tuition savings for their children.  Not only do the plans benefit students, but they also carry advantages for the account creators or donors. The student can potentially enjoy tax-deferred growth with federally tax-free distributions if used for qualified educational expenses. Advantages to the donor include complete control of the account, high contribution limits, and no age restrictions or income limitations to inhibit investing.  It’s no surprise that 529 savings plans have become popular savings vehicles.

Have you ever wondered how 529 college savings plans are invested to meet time-sensitive tuition expenses? 

Age-based investment funds make this challenge easily manageable.  The graph below shows the glide path of equity allocations for 529 savings plans at various ages of the beneficiary from 2010 to 2013.

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  • Generally, 80% of the portfolio is invested in equities at age 0 and reduces to 10% by the time the beneficiary is enrolled in college. 
  • Since 2010, plan investment managers have become more conservative in the beginning (age 0) and end (age 19) stages of plans.
  • Investment managers have become 6-7% more equity aggressive during ages 5-15 to meet tuition goals. 

To meet tuition needs within 18 years, the graph reveals that investment managers are becoming more aggressive during the middle of a student’s investment time horizon, but they are also growing more cautious about preserving money closer to the end of the student’s investment time frame.  Interestingly, the graph also reveals that investment managers still rely on bonds as one of the safest places to preserve money (90% of the portfolio by age 19), despite the negative reputation bonds have received in our current rising rate environment. 

The glide path is designed to allow for an outcome with minimal surprises to all investors, no matter the economic environment when it’s time for college.  Some cycles will end on a poor note with markets crashing, while in other times markets will be soaring as students begin to tap the funds.  Ultimately, the guide path is designed to gradually reduce investors’ risk and exposure to market disruptions in the final years of saving, when investors are closest to needing the money they’ve worked so hard to save.  

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with 529 plans before investing. This and other information about 529 plans is available in the issuer's official statement and should be read carefully before investing. Investors should consult a tax advisor about any state tax consequences of an investment in a 529 plan.

As with other investments, there are generally fees and expenses associated with participation in a 529 plan. There is also a risk that these plans may lose money or not perform well enough to cover college costs as anticipated. Most states offer their own 529 programs, which may provide advantages and benefits exclusively for their residents. The tax implications can vary significantly from state to state.

Matthew E. Chope, CFP ® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Matt has been quoted in various investment professional newspapers and magazines. He is active in the community and his profession and helps local corporations and nonprofits in the areas of strategic planning and money and business management decisions.


The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Raymond James.

Fun Money Lessons over Summer Vacation

Contributed by: Robert Ingram Robert Ingram

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Now that summer is officially here and the kids are out of school, a lot of our attention may be on cookouts, camping, days at the beach, or fun on the water.  Yet, summer vacation can also provide great opportunities for teaching children and grandchildren lessons about money and good financial habits that can grow with them.  

Here are some ideas to get the kids learning about money while enjoying the summer fun:

Make It a Game

Playing games is certainly a fun way for kids (and many adults) to entertain themselves during the summer months. It can also help develop counting and math skills and introduces many money management concepts around earning, spending and saving.  There are so many kinds of games in all different formats.

  • Technology is a big part of our daily lives. Children are growing up immersed in the world of smartphones, tablets and computers.  The good news is that kids allotted time on those can be spent doing online games focused on building money skills.  For example, the website practicalmoneyskills.com offers games for different age groups:
    • Peter Pig’s Money Counter for younger elementary school children
    • Sports-themed Financial Football and Financial Soccer for ages 11 and above
  • In the wide universe of smartphone apps, there are thousands of games available.  By searching your app store under educational categories, financial, or money games, you can find some hidden gems.  A couple of examples recognized by Parents Choice Awards and financial literacy organizations include:
    • Marble Math and Savings Spree for elementary school age children
    • Farm Blitz for pre-teens to young adults
  • Although these might seem “low tech,” you can’t forget about the old-fashioned family board games.  These include classics like Monopoly, Monopoly Jr, Pay Day, and the Game of Life, or other unique games like Allowance or Acquire. Board games introduce kids of all ages to different financial choices from managing income and spending to making investment decisions.  And who doesn’t love a good family game night once in a while?!

Getting the Kids Involved in Decision-Making

  • The piggy bank has always been a great way to introduce younger children to the lesson of saving and seeing how small regular contributions can really add up.   Finding one that lets kids see what’s inside, helps them understand their progress along the way and keeps them interested.  To delve even further, some piggy banks have different slots where kids are able to save their pennies for different purposes.  The Money Savvy Pig, for example, has four sections that allow kids to set aside amounts for saving, spending, donating, and investing.
  • Family vacation or outings this summer?  Get the kids involved in the planning.  What activities might you do? What treats or souvenirs could they want?  Set some budget guidelines for these categories and have them help you prioritize and decide how you’ll spend the money.  Do the kids want to expand the budget?  This can be an opportunity for them to set goals of saving some of their allowance, summer job income, or even spare change to use toward those extra budget items.
  • Back-to-school shopping can be another great learning opportunity, especially for pre-teens and the teenagers.  Rather than scrambling in late August only to see the stack of credit card bills in September, help the kids put together a shopping plan they can own.  Work with them on setting up a reasonable budget and making their lists.  They can start prioritizing their “needs” vs. “wants” and then figuring out how they can best use their budget.  This also gives kids the chance to learn to compare brands, research the best deals, and even find special discounts.

Ideas for the Summer Reading List

For kids that plan to spend some time on their summer break kicking back with a good book, they can add a few titles to their reading list.  There are a ton of great books out there on the subject of money and personal finance. 

A few come to mind that are relatively easy reads and have valuable insights for students and adults alike: 

  • “Learn to Earn” by famed mutual fund manager Peter Lynch is aimed particularly at young adults, providing concepts in the basics of investing, the stock market, and business in general.  One of Peter Lynch’s investing principles over the years has been “buy what you know,” meaning that many investment ideas can begin with products, services, and brands you know and use.  Kids may be able to apply this to things in their own everyday life today such as:
    • What is the latest game they enjoy or what app are they and all of their friends using?
    •  They can begin to learn about the companies behind them.
  • Two other titles, “The Wealthy Barber” by David Chilton and “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas Stanley and William Danko, have also been around for over 20 years now and are still just as relevant today.  Both of these books have several lessons about developing simple habits in spending, saving, managing debt and investing.  Common themes in each book are:
    • Achieving financial confidence and independence is a process done over time.
    • The concept of wealthy may not fit the image we often have in our head.

Robert Ingram is a Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.®


Views expressed are not necessarily those of Raymond James Financial Services and are subject to change without notice. Information contained herein was received from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. Information provided is general in nature. The website link included and apps mentioned are provided for information purposes only.  Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any third-party web site, app or their respective sponsors.  Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any web site, app, or the collection or use of information regarding any web site's users and/or members. Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. is not affiliated with the above independent organizations.

Funding the Future - A Rockin’ Good Time

Contributed by: Clare Lilek Clare Lilek

On April 18th, The Center proudly sponsored the band Gooding, through the non-profit Funding for the Future, to play at Hazel Park High School. The event was a little over an hour and involved fun rock music, excited high schoolers, and important lessons in financial literacy.

Funding for the Future is a nonprofit that coordinates bringing the band Gooding to different high schools, student groups, and kid oriented organizations to not only provide a free concert, but also give a crucial and entertaining lesson in financial literacy. All too often, some of our children reach adulthood without ever hearing about the impact of weekly savings, the perils of credit cards and credit scores. “Put your money away and let it work for you,” was a common sentiment that was said throughout the event, encouraging students to save money each week in an account like a Roth IRA, in order to let that money grow over time—a practice we heartily support at The Center!

The band Gooding is passionate about financial literacy and sharing that message with music. Their songs aren’t about stocks and bonds, however; they play exciting and down to earth rock music which endears them to the kids, allowing their message after the songs are over to sink in with more credibility. The band is inspired to bring financial literacy to students all over the country because of their own lack of education when it came to handling money as they grew up. We see examples of celebrities and pro-athletes that go broke shortly after making it big. The band explained that mindset comes from growing up and thinking one check, one lottery ticket, one record deal is going to change it all; but he encourages the kids to realize that change is within them and doesn’t come from the outside.

Gooding also talked about the perils of opening up too many credit cards, of not knowing your credit score and what affects it. He stresses, though, that money isn’t bad, it’s our lack of knowledge around money that can mess us up financially. That’s why he encourages good financial behavior, like putting $50 a week in a Roth IRA once you start working. You start young and have that money grow for you exponentially over time. He showed the students real examples and charts in order to encourage the students to take the idea of retirement savings seriously. He also talked about creating SMART goals; having Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time oriented goals in order to plan and budget successfully. It was a lesson mixed with long term planning and tangible strategies the students could implement right away.

After thirty minutes of fun rock music and a thirty minute crash course in basic financial literacy, the students left smiling and so did we! It’s a part of The Center’s mission to spread financial literacy to the community around us, and sponsoring Funding for the Future and the band Gooding was just one way in which we do so. We look forward to many future partnerships in order to spread the word!

Clare Lilek is a Challenge Detroit Fellow / Client Service Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.®


Any opinions are those of Clare Lilek and not necessarily those of Raymond James.

Change is Coming: FAFSA Edition

Contributed by: Nick Defenthaler, CFP® Nick Defenthaler

As like many Michiganders, fall is my favorite season. What’s not to love? College football, sweatshirt weather, Halloween festivities, the changing colors of leaves, and crock pot meals just to name a few. Fall is also the time where college students are in full gear with their first semester and getting back into the academic swing of things. This is also a time where parents often put pen to paper to determine how to help fund tuition for their kids, both with savings and the financial aid system.  As parents consider their options for financial aid, the first place to turn is typically the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form, which is the main determining factor of how much financial aid a student will qualify for. In years past, the FAFSA was due in February each year and was completed with financial information based on the previous year. The logistics of the filing deadline made it very difficult for families to gather the necessary financial information to make sure they completed the form accurately and timely for the February deadline. Talk about a hassle. Good news – this is all changing starting this year. 

An Executive Order signed by President Obama in 2015 (made effective for October 2016) contained changes designed to streamline the process for the 2016-2017 school year. Now families can provide financial information based upon an earlier time frame, deemed the prior-prior-year. For example, a student who will enter college in the fall of 2017 will now furnish financial information from the 2015 tax return instead of the 2016 tax return. In addition, the FAFSA will now be made available in October of each year, rather than January 1st, giving parents more lead time to complete the form.

Here are some main takeaways from the change that could be relevant for your situation:

  1. Easier Application Process: By using financial data from two years prior (PPY), applicants will be able to take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval tool – an innovative tool where income tax data can be pulled directly from the IRS into the FAFSA form, saving time and improving accuracy. 

  2. Start Earlier: Initial college financial aid decisions will be made based on an earlier time-frame – the tax year which begins in the middle of the student’s sophomore year of high school.

  3. Finish Earlier: The final financial aid decision will also be made at an earlier date during college—the tax year which begins in the middle of the student’s sophomore year of college will determine aid for the senior year.

  4. Extended Family Assets: Assets held in grandparent-owned 529 accounts that are often saved for the final year of college as a planning strategy may now be used a year earlier with no negative impact on the student’s future financial aid eligibility.

  5. 2015 Deja vu: Because of the new rules with the FAFSA, the 2015 tax year will be used twice in calculating financial aid. The first usage will be for the 2016-2017 school year and once again for 2017-2018 due to the new prior-prior year arrangement.

If you have questions on filing the FAFSA or planning strategies around funding tuition with college savings, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Nick is a member of The Center’s financial planning department and also works closely with Center clients. In addition, Nick is a frequent contributor to the firm’s blogs.


The information contained in this blog does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Nick Defenthaler and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Raymond James is not affiliated with FAFSA.

529 Plans: Saving for your Child’s Education

Contributed by: Nick Defenthaler, CFP® Nick Defenthaler

Doesn’t it always seem like you blink and summer is over? For some reason, this glorious season seems to go by especially fast when you live in the state of Michigan! Hopefully you all took advantage of the hot and sunny weather and had a chance to explore all of the great things our state has to offer with your family. 

If you have children, your focus has probably shifted from weekend getaways to getting back into a more structured routine now that school is back in session.  Since school is top of mind for many, I felt it was a good time to touch on education planning and saving for college. 

Below is a brief refresher of the 529 plan, a popular type of account you can save into for future college expenses.  Many people refer to the 529 plan as the “education IRA” but there are some caveats:

Advantages:

  • State tax deduction on contributions up to certain annual limits
  • Tax-deferred growth
  • No taxation upon withdrawal if funds are used for qualified educational expenses (such as tuition, books, room and board, computers, etc.)
  • Parents have control over the account and can transfer the account to another child
  • Not subject to kiddie tax rules, unlike UGMA accounts (Uniform Gift of Minors Act) and UTMA accounts (Uniform Transfer to Minors Act)

Disadvantages:

  • No guaranteed rate of return – subject to market risk
  • Certain taxes and penalties will apply if funds are withdrawn for non-qualified expenses

Items to be aware of:

  • Keep records of how money was spent that was withdrawn from the 529 account in case of an audit
  • Review the asset allocation/risk profile of the account on an annual basis – typically, the closer the child is to entering college, the more conservative the account should become 

Just like saving for retirement, the sooner you can start saving for college the better. With that being said, if your children are only a few years out from college and your savings isn’t where you’d like it to be, there is still hope. Chances are you still have options and this is where good financial planning can come into play. There are also nuances with financial aid and completing the FAFSA that you want to be aware of—check out our webinar on the topic! If we could provide guidance in this area, don’t hesitate to reach out, we would be happy to help!

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Nick is a member of The Center’s financial planning department and also works closely with Center clients. In addition, Nick is a frequent contributor to the firm’s blogs.


The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Nick Defenthaler and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. As with other investments, there are generally fees and expenses associated with participation in a 529 plan. There is also a risk that these plans may lose money or not perform well enough to cover college costs as anticipated. Most states offer their own 529 programs, which may provide advantages and benefits exclusively for their residents. The tax implications can vary significantly from state to state. Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or guarantee against loss.

Webinar in Review: Taking Control of your Student Loans

Contributed by: Clare Lilek Clare Lilek

If you or a loved one has student loans, then you know it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times. According to The Institute of College Access & Success, 70% of undergraduates have student loan debt of $35,000 on average upon graduating. Moreover, these numbers and percentages increase with degree level. With increasing numbers of Americans with student loan debt and the fact that managing multiple loans of various types and interest rates can cause confusion, Melissa Parkins, CFP®, and Kali Hassinger, CFP®, hosted a webinar on the subject in order to provide some clarity.

First, it’s important to determine whether you have federal or private loans; there are various sub-categories of loan types for federal loans. The majority of loans you will come in contact with are federal loans and they tend to have fixed-interest rates and the possibility of flexible repayment plans. Private loans tend to have less flexible repayment plans and interest rates are determined by credit scores.

Federal loans tend to be considered the preferred type of loan. They offer flexible repayment plans, varied interest rates, loan consolidation options, and the possibility of loan forgiveness (note on loan forgiveness: if you still owe money at the end of your federal loan period, the government will forgive that loan but the remainder will be taxed as income that year). Private loans, however, tend to be more straight forward since there is a standard repayment plan that is not based on your income.

One big tip Melissa and Kali offered is first getting organized with your loans. Create a list that outlines the type of loan, the lender, interest rates, and the term. (For help with creating this inventory check out Melissa’s latest blog on the subject.) They also offered a helpful flow chart for deciding whether or not you should refinance your federal loans:

 Taken from Social Financial, Inc

Taken from Social Financial, Inc

At the end of the webinar, Melissa and Kali went over an in depth case study looking at specific examples of loans and potential refinancing options to save you money and to pay back your loans at a faster rate. Listening to this case study can provide more clarity on how creating a loan inventory may help you save money in the long run.

If you have questions regarding your own student loans, listen to the webinar and see if any of the information applies to you. As always, feel free to reach out to your financial planner or Melissa and Kali for any remaining follow up questions or to talk about your specific situation.

Clare Lilek is a Challenge Detroit Fellow / Client Service Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.


The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of and Clare Lilek, Melissa Parkins and Kali Hassinger not necessarily those of Raymond James. Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.

5 Tips for Budgeting Post-Graduation

Contributed by: Clare Lilek Clare Lilek

Graduation season can be a whirlwind of exams, parties, job interviews, parties, endless nights fueled by caffeine, and more parties. Once the adrenaline and celebration subsides, however, and when reality comes hurtling towards you at full speed, it’s helpful to have your finances in order. Life after graduation can be exhilarating, partly due to the uncertainty, but don’t let uncertain finances take the fun out of adult life.

Here are 5 simple tips to keep in mind when creating your post-college budget, as you prepare for a *hopeful* increase in monthly income:

  1. Whether you’re working at a fast food chain or a Fortune 500 company put 10% of your salary away into what I like to call a “No Touch Savings.” This is a savings fund for emergencies only—in case you lose your job, or your car needs major repairs, or just for when life happens unexpectedly.
  2. Divide your bank accounts into sub folders: Emergency, Travel, Bills, Fun Money, etc. Put money away each month into the various buckets and don’t dip into other buckets. Pro Tip: Make sure you’re allocating the appropriate percentage of funds to each bucket—your fun money bucket probably shouldn’t have a higher deposit rate than your bills bucket (well not yet at least).
  3. Cut out unnecessary spending. When you’re first starting out on your own and creating a budget, it behooves you to be as frugal as possible. If you’re buying coffee and breakfast every day, cut that out of your spending and try to do your early morning routine at home. See how far your salary actually takes you each month first and then add in luxuries, as long as your savings do not suffer.
  4.  Write it out. When drafting up a budget, with your subfolders, savings, and planned spending, write it out on paper. It helps to physically write out your spending and saving goals. For the first few months under your budget, make sure to write out your actual spending and saving as well. See how closely your goals align with your spending reality and make adjustments as necessary. It helps to physically see how much you’re spending to know where you can eventually save.
  5. Set spending priorities. Watch out for superfluous spending on items or experiences that aren’t really important to you, but don’t be afraid to splurge on the things that truly matter. Save as much as you can, but remember to find joy in what you choose to spend your money on, or better put, spend money on items and experiences that truly give you joy.

When creating and following your budget, use the method that best suits you and your style of living. Some people prefer paper and pen (including myself), others excel spreadsheets, and more recently, a growing number of people are using applications and websites. If you need a larger system to help you create and stick to a budget, I suggest Mint. It’s a website and an application that helps you track spending by linking to your bank account. Find what works best for you and stick to it! Consistency is key.

Joining the adult world can be an amazing experience but comes with a rather large learning curve. As you, your children, or your grandchildren begin professional careers post-graduation and start to receive an increase in monthly earnings, remember to take it slow and follow some simple guidelines. You never want to end up over your head, fresh out of college.

Clare Lilek is a Challenge Detroit Fellow / Client Service Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.


The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Clare Lilek and not necessarily those of Raymond James.

A Change to Your American Funds CollegeAmerica 529 Plan

Contributed by: Melissa Parkins, CFP® Melissa Parkins

If you have 529 Plan(s) with American Funds CollegeAmerica, a change is coming this year that you should be aware of.

What is happening?

On June 24, 2016 your CollegeAmerica 529 account will be transferred out of the custody of American Funds, and into the custody of Raymond James.

What does this mean?

  • Better communication, efficiency, and service for you! Raymond James will now hold your CollegeAmerica 529 account assets instead of American Funds.
  • Communications about your account will now be more consistent and clear. Statements and tax documents will all come from Raymond James, instead of multiple communications from multiple sources.
  • If your 529 account is currently enrolled in systematic purchase plans at American Funds, they will continue without any disruptions or delay. The information will be transferred to Raymond James to continue any automatic transactions that are currently set up.
  • Your Raymond James account number for your 529 account will not change. The CollegeAmerica Program will continue to govern your account, but Raymond James will now hold the account.
  • The change will not affect the value of your investments, and there will not be any fees for this transfer.

What other information will you be receiving?

  • You will receive a letter from Raymond James at the beginning of April with the details of this change. If you have more than one CollegeAmerica 529. You will receive multiple mailings, one for each account.
    • This letter will state that your financial advisor (us) will now be your single point of contact for managing your American Funds CollegeAmerica 529 account. We have always been your main point of contact for these accounts. So you will continue to call or email us with any requests related to your accounts.
  • You will receive a statement from American Funds after June 24 reflecting a zero balance, because your investments in the 529 account will no longer be held by American Funds. The statement will show a transfer out of the 529 plan.
  • Two year-end statements will be sent for your 529 plan in early 2017: one from American Funds and one from Raymond James. Your year-end statement from American Funds will indicate that the funds transferred out.
  • If you had any reportable transactions before June 24, you will receive a 1099-Q tax document from American Funds. If you had any reportable transactions after June 24, you will receive a 1099-Q tax document from Raymond James. These would also both come in early 2017.

In a nutshell, not much is changing from your end. This change will allow us to more timely and efficiently service your 529 accounts, since we will no longer need to go through American Funds for any processing. This means better service to you! Please call us if you have any questions.

Melissa Parkins, CFP® is an Associate Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.

A Webinar in Review: Utilizing FAFSA in your College Financial Planning

Contributed by: Clare Lilek Clare Lilek

Thinking about financing a college education may seem more daunting than the actual education itself. If you or a loved one is applying to college, utilizing the full potential of the FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Student Aid) can make a huge difference in how you or your student manages the stress of a financial future after a degree. In a recent webinar hosted by Nick Defenthaler, CFP® with guest presenter Carrie Gilchrist, Ph.D., the Senior Financial Aid Outreach Advisor at Oakland University, participants got some tips for college planning. Carrie went through basic elements of financial aid, outlined the uses of filling out a FAFSA for everyone, and covered some special circumstances. Throughout the webinar Carrie answered some of the following key questions:

What are the different elements of Financial Aid?

Where can financial aid come from?

Financial Aid can come from federal, state, institutional, and private resources.

How is FAFSA calculated? How does contribute to your overall Financial Aid?

FAFSA collects information on your demographic, taxed income, untaxed income, and assets and comes up with the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Based on what university you or your student attends, each school will have their own Cost of Attendance (COA). Financial Aid is then determined by subtracting your personal EFC from the COA of the university.

When do we file a FAFSA and where?

Start filling out your FAFSA anytime soon after January 1st while the student is still a senior in high school, but before March 1st. This can all be done online and it is encouraged to use the secure federal website, it can save time and hassle.

What if I’m a high income earner?

Still fill out financial aid! It can be used for so much more, including your eligibility for federal loans. You could also qualify for a school grant, which can’t happen without the FAFSA.

These are just a few of the main concerns that Carrie covered throughout the webinar. Take a moment to listen to the whole recording below, there is more in-depth information covered, along with good advice and helpful resources to use when filling out your FAFSA or getting your Financial Aid package in order. At the end of the day, Carrie stressed that making this a collaborative process with your student is key, and Nick stressed that if you have questions, your friendly financial planners here at The Center are always willing and able to help guide you through this process.

Clare Lilek is a Challenge Detroit Fellow / Client Service Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.


This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Clare Lilek and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Carrie Gilchrist or Oakland University.

Technology Supports an Aging Population

Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP® Sandy Adams

I was recently given the opportunity to visit one of the nation’s top research university’s that has a research institute dedicated to  aging – quite a treat for a geek like me interested in the study of gerontology!  The trip attracted my attention to current studies that focus on topics such as how technology can impact the lives of older adults, and how different generations interpret and understand financial concepts and financial advice – both interesting concepts to our work with clients here at the The Center.

My favorite take-a-way from my trip was a new awareness of the new technology service resources that are now available. So many of my conversations with clients center around the independence and the desire to remain in their family owned homes for as long as possible.  What I learned on my recent trip was how new technology and sharing economic services can make it possible for older adults to fulfill their wants and needs, and potentially make it possible for them to remain active and independent for far longer than they ever thought possible. 

How can you or an older adult in your life make this work in your favor?

  • Start by becoming aware of new technology and the sharing service economy.  What am I talking about here?  Services like Uber for transportation, Pillboxie for medication reminders, Heartwise and Care Beacon for health monitoring and assistance, Washio for laundry services, Blue Apron for easy meal preparation, Task Rabbit for locating help with tasks around the house, and so many more.
  • Begin to think about your long life planning and what options and preferences you have in mind for your housing, care, etc.
  • Work with your financial planner and other professionals to put real plans in place to make sure your preferences can come true, and to make sure that you have access to all of the best and, if it makes sense, most technologically advanced, resources available to assist you.

Technology isn’t just for your kids and grandkids!  The tools and services now available can be used to make the aging process a more convenient, active and independent one for the ages – if we allow ourselves to explore it!

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.


The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Sandy Adams and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the services of the above mentioned companies in this material.