Planning for the financial side of college with the Wells Fargo Comunity

College planning is one of the most difficult things about college, at least it has been for me.  My husband and I come from completely different college planning backgrounds, and mine seems to be the one that gives us the most trouble. Let's face it, filling out a FASFA is not the most fun any individual has ever had. I was lucky enough to have my mother do the dirty work for me. There wasn't much thought that went into college planning until I hit graduate school and realized just what I would be paying back. I had taken out more than I needed repeatedly just because the money in my had was fun to play with. At no point did 18 year old Emily ever think "Oh, I'll be paying this back majorly one day." 

My hubby on the other hand has a totally different story. He wasn't encouraged to go to college at all by his family. After working for a few years he applied to a university and managed to get minimal loans and a Pell Grant. He was a much smarter planner than I ever was, even with my parents constantly telling me to not take out the money. Jeremy was smart and paid cash when he could and took out the smallest amount possible, because of that he only owes about half of what I owe back. 

The mother's warning I never took heed to was the ever constant saying of "For every 10,000 you take out you can expect to pay back $100 per month." When planning realize this, if you marry someone who also has student loans you basically just doubled what you are paying. My little chunk wouldn't be so bad had I only attended undergraduate school. Instead I myself went for a Master's and my husband is working on a Specialist...the money adds up, and quick. 

Here are a few tips I have from our experience:

1. Try to get any scholarship you can, especially the state funded one like TOPS that Louisiana offers. 
2. Check into Pell Grants. If your parents are in the right income bracket it will help you out in the long run. Free money is always good. 
3. If you must take out loans take out as little as possible. 
4. If ever there is a semester you can afford to pay cash on, do it. Charge as little as possible.

Another great resource when planning for college that I recent learned about is the Wells Fargo Community. This community is a free online forum where you can ask questions about financial planning at any point in the span of college, before, during, and after. Your questions will quickly be answered by representatives from Wells Fargo and other community members offering advice on how they themselves handled it, even sharing links to exactly what you need, or where to go to get it. Anyone can join the community. If you are anything like me, your family had a big hand in your college planning. My Mom was always looking for answers to our questions about loans, and honestly I wish this community would have been around for the beginning of my college career. It would have been quite valuable.

Educational planning is very important, especially with the increasing costs and the impact it has on your lifetime earnings. Life after college is not cheap, and if not properly planned for, you will see a nice chunk of your earnings go straight to loan payment. Wells Fargo Community is there to help you understand your educational planning options by bringing students, parents, college counselors, and financial advisors together to share advice and experience. Something that would otherwise cost a lot of time and money. Questions and answers in the forum are relevant to the entire span of your college career from preparing to post graduation. Wells Fargo is here to help by addressing topics such as saving for college, finding the right college for you, choosing your major, and preparing for life after college. 

I really want to encourage you to watch the video below and check out the Wells Fargo Community site. Whether you are preparing for college, or completely done, you probably still have questions and this is definitely the place to get them answered. Being out of college I still have questions, and am actually planning on going back to school eventually. The Wells Fargo Community forum has help out tremendously at assisting in our to financially plan for that time and when would probably be best to go back to school (after Jeremy is done obviously ha!). 

For more information about the Wells Fargo Community, please visit Wells Fargo Community's site. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #WFCommunity #spon

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