Episode #7: Benefits of Hiring a College Planner

Going to college can be a wonderful experience for your child, however, the college admissions process and associated tuition fees can really take a toll on the entire family - including your retirement accounts. In this episode of Money Script Monday, Gabe shows you how a college planner can help you easily navigate through the challenging road of planning for college and turn your student's dreams into reality.


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Video transcription

Hello, my name's Gabe Lindemann, and I'm honored to be giving today's presentation on the benefits of hiring a college planner. So with that in mind, let's get started.

I've been involved in college planning for probably 10 years, and I'm proud to say that I'm a San Diego State alumni. It wasn't always the easiest route. I made a lot of bad decisions, I spent too much money, and frankly, I didn't get the advice I really needed.

It all started when I graduated high school. I had no idea to go to college. Everybody in my family joined the military, and that's all we did really, everyone just joined the military. So when I graduated, that was my dream. I wanted to join the army, go be with my cousins, and my best friends that are over there serving, and join. I wanted to do my patriotic duty.

A few months after I graduated high school, we found out my dad came down with terminal cancer. And it was sad, it was tough. My mother came up to me and said, "Gabe, do me a favor, you're the oldest son, I need you to stay, we don't know what's going to happen, I need your support, you need to be here. You know, your brother's young, your dad's sick, and you're the oldest guy." So, what do you do? You're going to say no to your mom?

So, I said okay and decided not to join the army. And I realized that if I'm not doing anything, I got to go to community college. Most people think that going to community college is a 2-year process. Unfortunately, I was still in high school mood, and the 2 years turned to 4 years. I was blessed because I did meet some good teachers that guided me along the path, and helped me by saying, "You know what, Gabe, you really could, if you focus, you can go to college."

With some luck, I was able to transfer to San Diego State. And I'm proud to say, once I transferred to San Diego State, I graduated in 2 years.

The difficult road to planning for college

Fast forward five years later, I'm at a college planning workshop in LA. It was the first-time hearing about it, I didn't really know what college planning was. They started talking about things like FAFSA, selecting schools, costs, housing, deadlines, testing, all this crazy stuff. Keep in mind, I did all this stuff myself, and I made so many mistakes.

College Planning Workshop

Then all of a sudden, the light bulb goes off. And I said to myself, if I had just hired a college planner to help with any of these things, I could've graduated in four years, I could have made it more affordable, probably could have gone to a private school, and paid a lot less than what I paid at state school.

That's when the big picture hit me. I was like wow, this is so powerful. I don't think people realize the benefits of college planning, you can do all these great things, and not make the mistakes, which I personally did, all my friends did, and they're continually doing.

College is a business

One of the things I realized from being involved in college planning is...college is a business. I know people want to think that it's a non-profit, and they're there to help you, but teachers and counselors are overworked. And colleges make a lot of money. About 5 to 6 years ago, the federal government got involved and allowed everyone to get student loans.

College is a Business
  • Skyrocket Cost: When we had our first baby, just to comb the baby's hair, was $25. Nothing special, it's just an average comb, just to have a nurse comb the hair is 25 bucks. Same thing in college. If you look at the last 10 years, look at apparel, housing, food, beverages, medical, the highest. It's gone up to 43%. Now, that's a lot of money. That's a whole lot of money.

    Increasing Cost

    Over 10 years, colleges have gone up 80%! It used to be back in the day, going to college would represent 10%, 15% of a family's annual salary. Nowadays, if you're going to a top tier school, it represents 90% of the family's salary. How could somebody afford that?

  • Elite Club: You have to be a Rockefeller to really afford tuition to go to a state school. You're seeing a lot of qualified students not being able to afford the college cost and so they're going to a community college. Not that community college is a bad thing.

    For a lot of people, it's more affordable and helps, but studies have proven that if you go to community college first, you're less likely to graduate. And you're also going to endure more costs and it's going to take longer. If you can't afford to go in the first year, you're forced to do community college, then you're having the cards stacked against you from day one.

  • Being Accepted: Schools are so overcrowded. I remember at San Diego State, you go to a Business 101 class, you'd have 500 students in a lecture hall. You thought you were listening to some great artist out there. You're seeing 500 students for 1 professor, and a couple professor assistants. There's no connection there. Now you go to a private school, it might cost a little bit more, but now you're only having 1 teacher for 30 students. Big difference.
  • Graduate 6-8 Years: This is probably the most important thing. Kids are graduating 6 to 8 years. I'm not talking about six years for a master's degree, and eight years for a PHD. I'm talking about eight years to get an undergrad degree, that pretty piece of paper. I'm speaking from experience, it took me four years to transfer from the community college. I did make a couple of mistakes, I didn't get serious until my first or second year. Because of the grace of God, I had a good professor guide me along the path, but still, overcrowded, hard to get classes, it just takes a lot of time.

College planner benefits

If you hire a college planner, these are the benefits.

Increasing Cost

3-4 Weeks to Prepare

To do everything from A to Z for your student, for your family member, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks to prepare everything. I don't know anybody that has 3 to 4 weeks vacation. And if they do, they're not going to put 3 to 4 weeks of their vacation to prepare for their kids to go to college because they're not professionals in that field, and they're going to make mistakes, they're going to fumble. For some families, 3 to 4 weeks could be the difference of $15,000, $20,000 or more, you never know.

98% Success Rate

If you work with a college planner, they're going to be able to identify what school's the best fit for you. They're going to identify your need, based on your scores and everything, and what schools you need to apply for, and they have a 98% success rate, it's pretty amazing.

More Affordable

You hire a college planner, they're going to make it more affordable, making sure the cost are the bare minimum. They're going to be able to get your kid into a private school, but pay state school prices.

That's what would've helped me. I can't imagine if I would had gone to USD, or USC, or Chapman, or Pepperdine, and still have been able to pay what I paid for San Diego State. That would've been a dream in itself, having 500 students in the classroom to 1 professor, to 30 students to 1 professor. Big difference.

Graduate Sooner

Those kids are going to be able to get classes they want, and graduate in four years. So that helps in a couple of ways:

  • (1) The students joining the work force sooner.
  • (2) They don't have to take out much loans and fees and association stuff. They're starting their careers, they're starting their dreams, they're building confidence, they're adding to the workforce, they're adding to our economy.

Dreams into Reality

I don't know any parent who doesn't want their kids to do better than they did. And you have to go to college to be successful in this environment. It's just so important, it's so crucial, it's scary out there. I hate to say it, but that's the way the economy is going nowadays, that's the way the world is working. Unless they have those opportunities, which going to college provides, they're not going to have it.

And lastly, I don't want you to be afraid of the costs. I know some families come and call me and say, "Gabe, I only make $50,000 a year, or I make $200,000 a year, or I make $20,000 a year." It doesn't matter what your financial situation is. There are programs out there that can help you. Just hire a good college planner, and they'll turn your dreams into reality.

Again, my name's Gabe Lindemann. Thanks for attending today's session, benefits of hiring a college planner. And please, don't let the same mistakes happen to you that happened to me. Hire a good college planner and turn dreams into reality. Thank you.

About Gabe Lindemann

Gabe Lindemann is the Director of College Planning and Senior Field Support Representative at LifePro. He coaches hundreds of financial professionals on how to build effective financial strategies that achieve their clients' long term goals and helps them stay educated on the latest industry trends.