Attention: Tax and Finance Professionals...
Here’s How to
Help Your Clients
Biggest Financial Fear
If you’re an accountant, tax professional, or financial planner, you already know that a big part of your job involves helping clients manage their fear.
So, what is it clients are really afraid of?
The stock market?
How about paying for college?
Everyone’s Financial Boogeyman
Paying for college is one of most affluent families’ biggest fears. And it’s no surprise! College costs have always been high But now they’re climbing faster than anything else in our economy, including healthcare. Figures from the College Board show that since from 1981 to 2011, private four-year tuition and fees have increased 263%. For that same period, public tuition and fees have increased even faster — 359%!
With costs rising that fast, parents simply can’t save their way into paying for it.
Paying for college used to be a savings challenge. But the old rules just don’t apply anymore. Now, saving for college is a cash-flow challenge. And a new challenge means parents need a new approach.
The average total college cost for in-state public students is $16,140. For out-of-state students, $26,646. The average private school costs $36,993. And charges at “Ivy League” schools run as high as $56,684!
Get out your mortgage amortization software. You’ll see that Ivy League tuition is more than the payment on a million-dollar mortgage!
Parents Will Pay for Your Help
You would think families would just say “enough is enough”! But that’s not about to happen.
The nation’s most expensive schools grow even more popular, year after year. Harvard University charges $52,650 for the 2011-2012 year. That didn’t stop 34,950 high-school seniors from applying for just 1,655 places. If you’re a midwesterner, Notre Dame charges $55,260. 16,547 students applied for just 4,019 places. If you’re out west, UC-Berkeley charges $29,936 for in-state residents. 50,312 students applied, with just 4,019 actually enrolling.
And parents are desperate to get their kids into these expensive schools. They hire private guidance counselors, for fees ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars, to do what high-school counselors do for free. They hire coaches to help with test prep, essays, and admission interviews.
Kaplan Test Prep charges $4,799 for 16 two-hour sessions. Even the online program runs $999. Parents saddle themselves with enough debt to buy a decent-sized house to get junior through college — not to mention grad school and beyond.
Don’t you think they’d be willing to spend a little bit right now to help make it all more affordable?
Seriously — if they’re willing to pay Kaplan five grand to squeeze out a couple hundred extra points on the SAT, don’t you think they’ll pay you to save them thousands in overall costs?
And paying for college isn’t like paying for other financial goals. If your client doesn’t have enough money to retire, well, they can just keep working a few more years. But college is different. College has a deadline. And that clock starts ticking the moment your client’s child is born.
College is also different because it’s an emotional investment. If your client hasn’t saved enough for that second home they want, well, they can just suck it up and stay at a nice hotel. But nobody wants to tell a kid who worked his heart out in high school that he can’t go the college of his choice. Nobody wants to tell a kid who worked his butt off to get into Harvard or Stanford that he can’t go.
That’s why clients are desperate for solutions. Emotional desperation, that wakes them up in the middle of the night, grabs them by the throat, and doesn’t let them go back to sleep.
Of course, “financial aid” has always been available for students who qualify. But these days, “financial aid” probably doesn’t mean what your clients think it means. Colleges still expect parents to contribute up to 47% of their “adjusted available income” and 5.64% of their “includible assets.” Students are expected to contribute up to 50% of income and 20% of their discretionary assets.
Out-and-out grants are a disappearing species. Most “need-based” aid consists mainly of work and loans. When your neighbor boasts that his “Johnny got a full ride to Stanford,” it doesn’t mean Johnny’s going for free. It usually means Johnny’s working 20 hours a week at the cafeteria and taking on a six-figure mountain of debt!
And paying for college isn’t just expensive. It’s complicated. Pell Grants. FAFSA. 529 Plans. “Expected family contribution.” Most parents don’t have a clue how to navigate through the maze of paperwork and programs that go into paying for college!
That means opportunity. Opportunity for you to be a hero. Opportunity for you to build your business by helping your clients through one of the biggest financial challenges they’ll ever face.
A Different Kind of Planning
My name is Wayne Firebaugh, and I’m pleased to introduce “Coach4College™” .
I’m a CPA and a CFP, and I’ve spent years watching the college funding “monkey” grow into an 800-pound gorilla. That’s why I created Coach4College™ — a new system for dealing with the reality of today’s college funding challenge. Coach4College™ is a unique program that lets you add lucrative college planning services to your business.
It’s not just “software.” It’s a complete system that lets you sell and fulfill high-fee college planning engagements.
How many of your clients have children with college on the horizon? How many more have family, friends, and colleagues with college on the horizon?
Imagine selling planning services to each of those clients, for each year of college.
Imagine using college planning services to attract new clients, who never would have found you if you couldn’t help them manage their biggest fear.
If you’re a tax preparer, college funding is a great add-on for W-2 clients who currently don’t need more than an annual 1040.
If you’re a financial planner, college funding is a great door-opener for clients investing in a 401k who don’t need investment management.
And when you show clients how to slay the college funding dragon, there’s no question that they’ll come to you for the rest of their tax or financial services work.
There’s no shortage of college funding programs to help your clients navigate this maze. Most of those programs give you spreadsheets. They focus narrowly on calculating “Expected Family Contribution,” throw in some footnoted explanations of terms, then call it a day.
Coach4College™ has those tools, too. But Coach4College™ is different.
Coach4College™ gives you a narrative that walks your clients step-by-step through the complete college funding process.
Coach4College™ starts with an online planning application. It’s simple and intuitive, based on the popular TaxCoach tax-planning “chassis.”
The plan itself starts with a simple 4-page questionnaire. You probably already have most of the information you need. It takes no more than 10 minutes to enter the data into the system.
Then hit the “Generate Plan” button. In less than a minute, you have a personalized, plain-English plan to guide your client through the college funding maze.
The Extensive Library,
2619 Erie Ave., Suite 2D
Cincinnati, Ohio 45208