7 College Planning Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

Keystone Financial Group |

Today’s high cost of college makes it imperative that you understand as many strategies as possible for maximizing your financial aid and reducing your out-of-pocket cost. For most families, working with a knowledgeable college planning expert can be extremely helpful.

However, there are thousands of families who simply assume that their current financial planner will tell them everything they need to know. This is a huge mistake that could cost you a lot!

Many financial advisors are excellent at helping you plan for retirement, but completely lost when it comes to college planning. Most don’t know much more about the topic than to tell you to stash money in a 529 plan. They aren’t trying to cost you money – they simply don’t know any better!

Before choosing someone to help you through this process, here are 7 questions that you should ask any financial professional that you are considering working with on college planning:

1.) Can you calculate our Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for us?

2.) Which of the 4 categories of financial aid does our family fall into, and how will our category impact our college planning strategy?

3.) Can you help us create personalized strategies to maximize our financial aid potential?

4.) If we are not eligible for need-based financial aid, do you have alternative strategies to help us minimize our out-of-pocket cost and pay for college on a tax-favored basis?

5.) Can you help our student(s) prepare for a successful college experience through coaching and guidance on career choices, selecting a major, and building an appropriate school list?

6.) Do you have tools and resources available to help our student(s) find the right school for the right value, and help us make sure we are making a smart investment?

7.) Lastly and most importantly, can you help us find ways to pay for college without significantly reducing our current lifestyle or retirement savings?

Immediately after asking these questions, you should have a pretty good idea of whether the advisor is experienced in college planning.

If he or she looks at you like they have no idea what you’re talking about, you have your answer!

Remember that college planning is a very specialized niche in the financial planning world, so many traditional financial planners are not well-versed in the subject. This is why it’s so important to work with a professional who specializes in the particular arena of helping families plan and pay for college.

Working with an experienced college planner could potentially save you thousands of dollars on college costs - and that's no exaggeration.

From increased financial aid opportunities, to reduced time in school and fewer wasted credit hours due to changing majors or schools, to potential tax savings and more efficient use of your college savings, there are numerous ways that a college planning specialist may be able to save you significant amounts of money on the cost of your child’s education.

If you, or someone you know has been "on the fence" about seeking help with college planning, we highly encourage you to get in touch with us today and see how we can help - and feel free to forward this on to a friend who could use some assistance as well!

You can reach our college planning team at 614-300-9498, or fill out our contact form to request a FREE family strategy session to discuss your college planning needs.




The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not a solicitation for the purchase of any financial product. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting financial professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice.