Active investment management’s weekly magazine for fee-based advisors

Michelle Mai • San Diego, CA
College Planning Source • Signature Resources Capital Management, LLC

For more than a decade, my firm, College Planning Source, has focused on helping clients create comprehensive and strategic plans for college funding.

We have worked with more than 1,200 clients and have developed a three-part system to help families identify and achieve their goals. A comprehensive college plan should include college funding, student development, and admissions. The three components need to be working together at the same time to produce the best outcome for a family.

To get the word out about our system and services, we participate in many free, public seminars and workshops about college planning. We cover a comprehensive list of topics:

  • How to pick colleges that will offer the best financial aid packages for a variety of student and family situations. How to evaluate the trade-offs between public and private colleges and in-state versus out-of-state schools.
  • How to pay for college without relying on 529 plans, expensive private student loans, or depleting retirement accounts. How to increase tax deductions and tax credits. How the structuring of income and assets can make a difference.
  • What assets are taken into consideration when the U.S. Department of Education calculates the Expected Family Contribution.
  • How to develop a customized plan to meet all of the college costs a student will incur, while integrating scholarships, grants, the lowest-cost student loans, and other resources.
  • Planning for multiple children in college at the same time. Planning for special-needs students and other unique situations, such as divorced couples.
  • Navigating the complexities of financial aid timelines and required forms.

We also discuss what families and parents need to consider to create a college-funding plan, while maximizing the amount of financial aid and scholarships the student is eligible to receive. Even if a family is not eligible for need-based aid, we will cover the best strategies on how to pay for college on the most tax-efficient basis. Many of our programs are conducted in association with The Society for Financial Awareness.

We believe that our services can help any family to develop a beneficial strategy for college funding, even if they haven’t started saving early. The key factor is not to wait any longer and to take action as soon as possible.

Disclosure: College planning services are provided through College Planning Source. Investment advisory and financial planning services are provided as an investment adviser representative of Signature Resources Capital Management, LLC, a registered investment advisory firm. Signature Resources is a service mark of Signature Resources, Insurance & Financial Services, Inc.

Photography by Todd LeVeck