Affordable Alternatives To A High Priced College Education

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The total cost of attendance at some private colleges now exceeds $70,000 a year.

Even state colleges and universities can come with a hefty price tag. The University of MN Twin Cities has an all-in annual cost of about $28,000.

Today, more and more parents scratch their heads and ask, “Is it really worth it?”

Perhaps a better question to ask would be, “Is a traditional 4-year college education really necessary?”

For some students, another path may be the smarter career (and financial) move to make.

While many career fields require a traditional college education and even advanced degrees, many do not. Healthcare, the building trades, and mechanical industries offer many career opportunities that require less than a 4-year college degree, but also offer reasonable pay, a high level of job security and advancement opportunities.

Consider this: Tuition, fees and books cost just under $7,000 at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College and other similar schools in our area. That’s less than half of what students pay at The University of Minnesota, and a fraction of what many private schools charge.

Wondering how much the schools on your list cost? Click here for a complete listing of tuition and related fees at every school in MN.

Not surprisingly, graduates of 2-year community college or vocational programs tend to graduate with less debt than their friends at 4-year colleges; $10,000 total student loan debt on average compared to over $28,000 for the typical college grad.

Not only do students spend less per year for fewer years at community and tech colleges, but they get into the workforce sooner and start saving earlier than most traditional college grads.

A 4-year college degree isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, today there are many other options. To learn more talk to your school counselor or attend a career and college fair at your high school, if one is offered.

Career and College Fair. On February 26, Centennial High School will host its first annual Career and Technical College Fair. It’s an opportunity to learn more about various community and tech colleges, explore different careers, and talk to experts who understand that a 4-year college degree isn’t the only path to a secure future.

For more information: click here.

2019 IRA and 401(k) Contribution Limits Rise


The personal savings rate in the United States hit 6% in 2018.  Relatively speaking that’s not a bad number.  Unfortunately, it probably won’t get you to your long-term financial goals.

It may sound obvious, but if you want to have more money when you retire, you are going to have to save more money when you are working.

Fortunately, the annual limits on how much you can contribute to your IRA, 401k and other workplace retirement savings plans are pretty generous. What’s more, they’ve been increased for 2019.

Consider This Before Moving To A Warmer State

Outside the sun is bright, the skies are blue and it couldn’t be a more beautiful winter day.

It also happens to be -30. Factoring in the wind, it “feels like” -50.

Schools, some government offices and many private businesses are closed. The local power company has just announced an urgent request for homeowners to dial back their thermometers to 60 to reduce demand on the power grid.

To me it sounds like a perfect day to work from home, break out the fingerless gloves, and get a jump on my 2018 tax return.

Of course, life doesn’t have to be this way. Some states never see temps fall below freezing and there’s even a few where state income taxes don’t exist.

However, the move to a more weather and tax friendly state comes at a price.

Before you sell the ice shanty and move to a state where the taxes and temps are more favorable, consider this:

A Primer on Dividends

How dividends can be used to increase your total return and provide reliable income in retirement

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Many of my clients use dividends as part of their long-term retirement income plan. Dividends provide consistent, recurring income that often rises with inflation.

Even clients who are still in the “accumulation phase” of their investment plan can benefit from owning stocks and mutual funds that pay dividends.

Click here to see how.


A New Way To Look At Your Bucket List

When I turned 50 I had an ambitious bucket list. Most of the items on my list were things that I wanted to do “some day”. I quickly realized that “some day” may never come, and that if I ever wanted to check any of my bucket list items off the list that I had better get started.

In fact, some of the most important things on my bucket list were simple, day-to-day things that I was at risk of missing out on if I didn’t make them a priority in my life.

Below is a short video that suggests a different way to look at your bucket list.


A New Way to Look at Your Bucket List