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1001 Ogden Ave.
Suite 204
Downers Grove, IL

Financial Consultants
1717 North Naper Blvd
Suite 200
Naperville, IL

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Understanding the True Cost of Mutual Fund Ownership

Let me ask you this: How much does it cost to own a mutual fund? I’ll give you hint: It’s safe to say probably more than you think… Did you answer “1% to 1.5%”? When discussing mutual fund expenses, too often professionals and laypeople alike resort to rules of thumb like “1% - 1.5%.”  This rule of thumb is seriously flawed, and it could actually be costing you a lot more money! There are four major costs of mutual fund…

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Css Profile

CSS Profile Deadline–Just Do It!

"I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by." Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt (2002) I procrastinate. I fight the tendency every day of my life, especially when the job to be done sparks anxiety. Suddenly it's October. Early admissions to colleges ramp up. Approximately 400 universities, colleges and scholarship programs require the CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile. And, the bad news is that the Profile is twice as long as the FAFSA. The…

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There’s More To Be Scared About than Paying For College

There is no doubt that the ever-accelerating costs of paying for college are daunting for almost every family--the good news is that there are experts and professionals out there who can help you. A competent financial advisor who understands how the system works can work with you to uncover any number of potential strategies that may help reduce your out-of-pocket cost for college.  They can also create cash flow strategies, educate you on different types of loans, and even blend in tax…

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Loans or Retirement Account to Pay for College?

Remember the birth of your child? As new parents we set out to give only the best to our children.   The first time they wrapped their tiny little hand around our finger we made a promise to give them the best. With that promise, of course, also came the responsibility of saving for college. Fast forward eighteen years later The time has come to live up to that promise.  If you are like most parents, however, life didn’t make it easy for you to…

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5 Questions to Ask Your College Funding Adviser

According to Kalman Chany, author of Paying for College Without Going Broke, using an accountant to do your college financial plan can actually cost you thousands of dollars in potential financial aid.  Here are 5 questions to ask before you make a decision to retain anyone as your college funding adviser: 1. Should I increase my retirement contributions to lower my adjusted gross income during my child’s college years? If the accountant says yes to this question, you definitely have the wrong person…

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Newest Kickback Scheme: Campus Debit Cards

Last week, while catching up on my research on private student loan sources, I encountered this attention-getting headline on Huffington Post: “Proposal Would Prevent Kickbacks that Steer Students Into Campus Debit Cards.”  According to the article. there are now about 900 campuses loading their students’ financial aid money into prepaid debit cards and peddling them to students. Sound convenient? Convenience, however, is coming at a big price for students. It turns out that banks and colleges are splitting millions of…

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Why Your Financial Advisor Must Be a Fiduciary

Many clients have asked me why My College Planning Team (MCPT) requires me to approve the financial plans provided to them by our other financial advisors. After all, these advisors have often had as much experience as I and have worked as trusted advisors to hundreds of clients throughout their careers. MCPT implemented this policy to make sure all of our college and financial plans have been reviewed by someone with fiduciary responsibility. This means that the person reviewing their…

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Working Students Get Better Grades

Many parents are reluctant to require their students to work during their college years.  They don't want work to distract from the main task at hand--studying and maintaining a good grade point average. There are recent studies, including one published last year in Inside Higher  Ed , however, that contradicts this assumption.  The study concluded that the more money parent pay for their children's college expenses, the worse the children perform. According to a recent article in U.S. News  even students who…

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Tax Planning Tax Bill

The Base Years Change Everything!

As a tax accountant and financial planner for over 25 years, on many occasions I have found that my usual tax and financial planning recommendations are significantly affected when I learn that my clients are approaching the base years for their college-bound children. (The base year is the calendar year immediately preceding the year in which their child will begin college.) Here are a few examples of the typical tax and financial questions I ask clients who do not have…

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The Positive Side of Federal Student Loans!

Often parents tell me they want their students to graduate from college debt-free because they are aware of the large debt burden many students are carrying these days. These same parents, especially those who also don’t expect their children to get campus jobs, are also seriously underfunding their retirement accounts. Prioritizing your retirement funding over college funding doesn’t make you a bad parent. Many years from now your children will actually thank you for it when they don’t have to…

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