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Financial Planning Hero

I always enjoy getting replies from readers. In response to last week's issue, I heard from several o
I always enjoy getting replies from readers.
In response to last week’s issue, I heard from several of you.
A couple of you just said thanks, which I always appreciate. It brightens up my inbox.
One of you had some additional thoughts to add on the topic of college savings.
More below 👇
Thanks, as always, reading.

How to Pay for College
In last week’s issue, I included a section on “how to save for college.”
But saving for college and actually paying for college are 2 very different animals.
Thankfully, my go-to college and financial aid planning expert, Jim Anderson, replied to last week’s email with some additional thoughts.
I wanted to share his comments with you here:
A little advice… Have a family determine their Expected Family Contribution before determining which account to begin. They may not qualify for need based aid and that takes the FAFSA, as it currently stands, out of the equation. Then it’s only control, tax savings and investment options. Secondly, a gift to pay tuition from a relative, non-parent, shows as income on the student’s FAFSA 2 years later. Gifts should be given when there are only 2 years left of college, again, if there is need based aid that would be compromised.
Based on Jim’s comments above, you’re probably getting an idea of just how deep the rabbit hole goes when it comes to navigating the college financial aid labyrinth.
If you - or someone you know - could use some assistance with selecting a college and making the most of your financial aid options, I can confidently recommend you reach out to Jim.
And of course, if you’d like to discuss saving for college or any other element of your personal financial planning, just hit reply to this email.
A Hero Financial Planner
As some of you know, my Uncle John passed away back in early September.
He was an amazing man, as you can see from his obituary which only shares a glimpse into the great life he lived and things he did for others.
And Uncle John has continued to take care of others even after his passing.
His wife - my aunt - is in a comfortable financial position as a result of the planning and decision making that John started early in his life.
From pensions (with spousal survivor benefits), to life insurance, to living within their means, and more, Uncle John wasn’t just a hero to me and our family. He was also a heck of a financial planner.
And my aunt, who is younger and has many more years ahead of her to plan for, is in a good place thanks to his decisions, some of which were made literally decades ago.
On a somewhat related note, Uncle John was buried at Georgia National Cemetery which is just north of the Atlanta area.
And when we went to visit his grave, we noticed coins on top of many of the gravestones.
While you may know what this means, we didn’t.
So naturally, we Googled it.
And here’s what we found:
Ever Seen Coins on a Gravestone? Here's What That Means
We thought this was pretty cool, and I thought you might find it interesting as well.
A Week At A Time ⌛
I’m fascinated with time.
How we spend it, how we use it, and how it passes - often in the blink of an eye.
Tim Urban’s articles are always thought provoking, but on the topic of time, I found this one particularly interesting:
Your Life in Weeks — Wait But Why
It’s a pretty quick read and I encourage you to check it out.
It offers another perspective on how to think about your life and the time you have left.
What will you do with the weeks you have left?
My hope and wish for you is that you’ll spend a good chunk of it doing the things you enjoy with the people you care about.
Until next Wednesday,

Postscript: Last week’s indie music track was from Manchester Orchestra, an Atlanta band. Another indie Atlanta band you should check out is Deerhunter and their track “Desire Lines.” 🎵
Why indie music? Please read the Postscript of Issue #2 for context.

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Russ Thornton

I'm Russ, a financial advisor based in Atlanta, GA. My focus is retirement planning for women (and their families) who are 55+. Every Wednesday, I write an email letter with my thoughts and perspectives on retirement and its many related topics. And I might include some other ideas or interesting topics as well 😉

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Russ Thornton | Atlanta, GA | Disclosures: