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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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Take Another Swing: Retake the ACT!

The score you--or your college-bound kiddo--received on your ACT should rarely determine whether or not the exam is retaken. Unless the composite is well above 30 ( in which case the law of diminishing returns usually kicks in) any score from pretty darn terrific to pretty darn terrible warrants another giving it another go. Most Students Increase Scores It's quite simple, really. Because you control which schools receive which scores, there is absolutely no downside to retaking the test once,…

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Understanding Types of Scholarships

Have you ever wondered if you could earn extra money for college through scholarships?  No matter how good your grades are or how much money your parents make, you may qualify for hundreds of scholarships.  To improve your odds of winning a scholarship, you can start by learning about the different types of scholarships. The three main types of scholarships are merit, need-based and other.  Here is a brief description of each one and some little-known facts that will give…

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Gap Year

An Affordable Gap Year

Some elements of a gap year are essential: exploration of a personal interest, traveling domestically or abroad, pushing your comfort zone and opening yourself up to new experiences.  There is one thing that a gap year doesn’t have to be: expensive. Many people assume that a gap year is financially out of reach.  Not so!  There are a variety of opportunities for gappers that are free or low-cost.  In addition, learning how to save and fund-raise can help offset the…

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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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The Role of Financial Advisors on My College Planning Team

A client recently asked me if MCPT has any special requirements that determine the types of financial products that are offered to our clients and if our financial advisors are required to sign-off on a particular code of ethics. He also asked how I decide on which financial advisors to recommend to a client. These are all excellent questions. Financial Products/Financial Planning Let me begin by saying that I or others on my college funding strategies team do not recommend…

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What’s The Gap Year All About?

Photo Courtesy of Africa Asia Ventures Another school year, another batch of high school seniors readying their college applications. But before you commit to four years of college, there is another option to consider: a Gap Year. You may have heard your college counselor mention a Gap Year in passing, or perhaps you heard about a classmate taking one a few years back. Gap Years are growing in popularity, but what exactly is a Gap Year and how do you…

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Discovery: Proactive Career Focus

This is the fourth in my series on the Five Steps of Proactive Career Development created by the Illinois Career Development Association (ICDA) Step 3 of 5 Steps of Proactive Career Development: Develop and sustain a clear career focus or mission for your life’s work and re-evaluate regularly. Remember Alice in Wonderland? What often comes to mind as I consider career development focus is the exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland. Here is an…

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Financial Advisors Need to Go Back to School!

Investment News recently ran an article with the above title.  The  point of their article was to tell financial advisors that there is an urgent need for them to learn all of the financial strategies available to help their clients survive the ever-rising cost of college—in essence, go back to school!  More importantly, the article is also a “wake-up call” for families who may be using an advisor who lacks this expertise. In his book, Paying For College Without Going Broke, Kalman Chany says…

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5 Points of Advice for College Success

I’m guessing that your first few weeks of college have been a whirlwind of moving in, setting up, and attending orientation. Now that you are somewhat established, here’s some advice for your college success. 1. Have a Good Day...Make a New Friend Whether you chose a small college or large university, you have immersed yourself in one of the coolest ongoing social experiments of all time. It's rare to have so many people your age collected in one place. While this may…

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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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