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We’re heading into that whirlwind time of year when high school seniors receive their college acceptance letters and the decision-making begins. It’s such a dangerous time for parents. Your instinct is to encourage your kid to follow her dreams, and enroll at her favorite school. Please, please, please, slow down, and listen up.  The most loving long-term decision you can make is to steer your family toward a college that makes financial sense for everyone. And parents, that means being very, very careful about borrowing a penny to pay for college. I want you to stand in your truth and carefully consider if you can afford to take out PLUS loans.   PLUS loans are federal loans available to parents of college students. There is no limit on PLUS loans; parents can borrow up to the cost of college minus any other aid the student receives. Please carefully read any financial…

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It’s finally Spring…and that means the start of the busiest season for home buying. If you are considering buying your first home—or love someone who is ready to own – I want you to be smart about your down payment. A 20% down payment is still considered the gold standard. If you can bring that much cash to the deal –and you have a solid financial picture – lenders are going to be eager to offer you a great deal. But that’s not realistic for many of you, especially first-time buyers. The average home down payment is around 7% these days. In fact, many people are putting down just 3% or 3.5% as there are national mortgage programs specifically designed for such low down payments. I am not a fan of low down payments. At a bare minimum I want you to make a down payment of at least 10%.…

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4 WAYS TO HELP A NEW COLLEGE GRADUATE Earning a college degree is a fantastic accomplishment. Congratulations to all the recent grads. If you have a recent college grad in your life, I hope you will stay focused on continuing to help them. Especially right now. Moving from college to adulting is fun, exciting, and oftentimes a period when so many young adults make costly financial mistakes. The sad truth is that it’s rare for any college grads to have been taught how to be money smart. That’s where you need to step in –once again –and help them learn the habits that will build financial security. Here’s what to focus on: Start student loan repayment. The single worst mistake a young adult can make is to fall behind on student loan payments. That will increase their borrowing costs, ruin their credit and can’t even be forgiven in bankruptcy. Technically,…

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