STARTING POINT: All the Basics You Need to Know Right Now (AUDIO)

For Parents of Kids Ages 12–26

If you’re a parent and you’ve just found this, you’re probably thinking:

“Oh, wow—seriously? There’s help for getting my kids through college debt-free, and into great jobs after college? I had no idea this kind of help was available! Am I late starting this? Yikes, I don’t have any spare time! If I work on this, how much time is it going to take me?”

Rest easy, Mom and Dad. You’re not late.

And getting your kids through college debt-free takes only minutes per week.

Right now, at this moment, you’re standing at the perfect starting point.

Listen to episode 1 of my podcast, below. It takes only 23 minutes. (Listen while you’re commuting, loading the dishwasher, or getting ready in the morning.) When you finish listening, you’ll feel hope and confidence, and you’ll know exactly what you need to do next to get your kids to the most exciting academic and career destinations—even if they don’t get a single scholarship.

If you’re parenting kids ages 12–26, listen to just the first 8 minutes below, and you’ll be hooked.

debt-free college podcast

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Morgan Stanley’s Alix Magner Buys 30 Copies of LAUNCH For Her Clients

Below, the Top 9 Questions Parents Are Asking Me About This Book

LAUNCH

To see a list of the top 9 questions parents are asking me about LAUNCH —along with detailed answers—scroll to the red print below. 

When Morgan Stanley’s Alix Magner calls you, you sit up a little straighter in your chair.

Alix is a high-powered, Stanford educated wealth management advisor who works with Minneapolis area families who have millions in assets—and families who are strategizing to get to that point.

When Alix told me that she’d read my book cover-to-cover and wanted to buy 30 copies for her clients, I jumped out of my chair.

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Pay For College by Renting Out Your Kid’s Bedroom?

Your son or daughter will be leaving for college soon, and it’s just hit you how much you’ll be paying out of pocket for tuition, room and board, and other college-related expenses. How can you pay high college bills—without piling debt onto the kid you love?

You could pay college bills by renting out your kid’s bedroom.

Your son won’t be using his room during the school year anyway—right?

Imagine yourself boxing up and storing all the belongings he left behind when he went off to college.

You re-carpet and paint, move in an easy chair purchased on Craigslist and an IKEA loft bed and desk—and then earn thousands of dollars each year renting the room to a student from a nearby college or grad school.

Here are 7 things to think about if you decide to pay college bills by renting out a bedroom:

1. Where will your child sleep on school breaks?

Plan that out ahead of time. At Dad’s house? In a top bunk in a sibling’s room? On a twin bed that you’ve pushed up against the wall in your cinderblock basement?

Your child can easily tolerate a little discomfort and inconvenience if it’ll lead to him having thousands of dollars less in onerous, burdensome debt after college graduation.

2. “Won’t it be weird to have someone we don’t know living in the house?”

Think of it like being a host family for a foreign exchange student through the AFS program.

That’s not weird, is it?

Your student renter starts out a stranger, but soon begins to feel like another family member.

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In College? Do This and Slash Your Student Loan Debt

If you’re currently in college—or if you’re a parent who’s taken out dreaded Parent PLUS loans—you’d love for a hero in a red cape to swoop down and tell you how to slash your student loan debt.

The hero is here.

slash your student loan debt

1. Slash your student loan debt by applying for scholarships while you’re in college.

Oh—you thought that students could only apply for scholarships during high school?

It’s not true. Sorry—you’ve been given bad information that could cost you and whoever you marry massive amounts of unnecessary debt. Bad information that could compound your parents’ grief if you die unexpectedly.

Here’s the truth. Students can apply for scholarships while they’re in college, and while they’re in grad school.

2. Apply for 10 scholarships every single year during college and grad school.

Knocking out 10 scholarship applications each year is actually easy.

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7 Ways to Encourage Teen Summer Jobs—Starting Now

Teens tend to think summer jobs are all about the money—but parents know different.

The very act of getting off of the couch, identifying job opportunities, and then actively going after those opportunities builds life skills into your teens that they’ll need long after their summer jobs are over.

If you find your teens resisting the idea of applying for summer jobs, here are 7 strategies that will help. (Even if weeks of summer have already passed.)

1. Let your teen feel the sting of poverty.

If you hand your daughter plenty of money to satisfy her every wish and need—she’ll never feel motivated to work hard and earn money for herself.

Give her a tiny allowance and ask her to stretch it to cover all her own teen life expenses, though—and a grocery store job might start to look pretty good to her!

See my clear instructions for parents on exactly how to implement this “tiny allowance strategy” here.

2. Remember—even June and July are good months to look for summer jobs.

The month of May was insanely busy for your family, just like it is for all families. If your teens didn’t have time to look for summer jobs then, that’s OK. June and July are not too late. Employers are still adjusting staffing in June and July—and some of their summer hires aren’t working out. Your teen may be applying just in the nick of time.

3. Encourage teens to go in person to ask about summer jobs.

Teens who fill out job applications online and then wait passively at home for phone calls are a dime a dozen.

Show up in person and talk to managers, though? Let these managers see a bright, eager-to-work face? That’s something not everybody does, so it can make a powerful impression.

Your teen will likely still be asked to fill out an online application, but the initial in-person, face-to-face contact will give him or her an edge over all other applicants.

4. Have your teen list 6 local businesses where she might like to work. Then…

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Big Announcement Here!

Got No Time to Read About Debt-Free College? Here's Help.

I know that you want to get your kids through college debt-free, and straight into jobs they love afterward. Even if they don’t get a single scholarship.

There are few things in the whole world more important to you than that.

You know that I’ve written a book that explains how to accomplish this, but it’s so dang hard to find time to read.

This is exactly why I’m introducing some important changes coming this summer and fall.

debt-free college

1. Bite-sized help—that doesn’t require reading!

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5 Ways to Keep Kids From Living Off You in Their 20s (AUDIO)

Most parents worry at least occasionally: “What if these kids don’t find good jobs and become independent adults? What if they want to lie around on my couch until they’re 30?”

debt-free college podcast

Join me, Jeannie Burlowski, for episode 6 of the Launch Your Teens podcast, and you’ll learn the one sentence that savvy parents cheerfully drop into casual conversation, here and there, during the years their kids are ages 12–26. It’ll make you laugh—and it’ll create a firm boundary that just might save you later.

(14 min.)

Prefer to read the content I talk about in this podcast? There are Jeannie Burlowski articles on this same subject here and here.

The show notes for this episode are below.

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So, You’re Dipping Into a 529 College Savings Plan?

A college bill has just come due, and you think, “No problem! We’ve been saving up money in a 529 college savings plan, so let’s just dip into that!”

Wait, wait—wait just a second.

Here’s an important question to ask before you do.

529 college savings plan

Before dipping into a 529 college savings plan, ask yourself:

Where, exactly, should I have the 529 money sent?

Try not to have 529 college savings plan money sent straight to the college.

The reason, according to this article by CPA Joseph Hurley, founder of SavingForCollege.com, is that some colleges might treat 529 money as a “scholarship” and use it as an excuse to strip your son of some or all of the financial aid money he’s been awarded. Yikes!

Not every college will do this—but some will.

Before you take action, call the college financial aid office and ask this:

“If some money from a 529 college savings plan lands in my daughter’s account today, will that in any way diminish her financial aid award?”

Write down the answer you’re given, along with the name of the person you’ve spoken to.

If the college’s answer is yes, then transfer the 529 money to your own account first—and then on to the school.

I urge every parent with a 529 plan to read this cautionary article provided by SavingForCollege.com.

In it, you’ll learn:

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Tee Your Kids Up For Career Success (In Just 2 Min.)

You desperately want your kids to succeed academically in school and in college so they can have a shot at lifetime career success—but cajoling and hovering and pushing them is just so exhausting.

Here’s fantastic help that will take you under two minutes to implement.

career success

According to world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck (who’s done decades of high-level research on achievement and success), the difference between academic and career success and academic and career mediocrity boils down to whether the child has a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

Carol Dweck describes the difference between these two mindsets this way:

“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.”

—Carol Dweck

This is fantastic in and of itself, but here’s even better news.

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5 Ways Teens Can Save Earnings—Without Damaging Financial Aid (AUDIO)

Your daughter’s 15 or older, and she’s earning and saving her own money. Whooo hoo! But wait—just a minute. Could the money she’s saving in her own name end up sabotaging future college financial aid awards?

Learn the sobering answer here—along with 5 safe, legal ways your kids can keep their own money under their own control during the college years.

debt-free college podcastJoin me, Jeannie Burlowski, for episode 5 of the Launch Your Teens podcast, and you’ll learn:

1. Why it’s important to think carefully about student earnings after December 31st of the 10th grade year

2. Why January 1st of the sophomore year of college is liberation day, the day no parent or student financial decisions can hurt undergraduate financial aid ever again

3. Why putting the cash your family hopes to save for college into a grandparent-owned 529 college savings plan can be a brilliant idea

4. Which kinds of student income will never hurt college financial aid awards

(14 min.)

You’d rather read than listen? OK you can do that here!

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Having Marijuana in this Form is a Felony

With all the national conversation around legalizing marijuana, many teens are jumping to the uninformed conclusion that it’s low-risk for them.

Experts, however, are extremely worried about the impact of marijuana on developing adolescent brains.

Not only that—but there’s one certain kind of marijuana that’s so dangerous that possession of it is a felony. Make sure your kids know this, because if one of their friends pulls it out, they’ll want to run for the hills as fast as they can.

marijuana

My grim conversation with the police officer

When I interviewed a police officer to get information for this article, he told me in grim terms that the form of marijuana called “wax” (also known as “dabs” or “hash oil”) is especially dangerous for teens and adults due to its exorbitantly high THC level.

It’s so dangerous that possession of even a tiny amount of it is a felony.

All teens who use marijuana, or who have friends who use marijuana, need to google the word “felony” to understand the prison term that results from this—even for first offenses, even for juveniles.

This is one of the strongest arguments there is for being extremely careful who you get into a car with.

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3 Reasons Every Teen Needs A Part-Time Job (AUDIO)

This episode also includes a hilarious idea for making your teen want to go out and get a part-time job!debt-free college podcastJoin me, Jeannie Burlowski, for episode 4 of the Launch Your Teens podcast, and you’ll learn:

1. How working a part-time job increases the odds that a teen will be academically successful in college.

2. How the advice of author Meg Jay can help your kids leave behind fake, empty confidence and develop genuine professional confidence.

3. The most interesting points Jeffrey J. Selingo made about this subject in his acclaimed Washington Post article.

(10 min.)

You’d rather read than listen? OK you can do that here!

Do you worry that having a job might damage your kid’s GPA?

Read the helpful, reassuring article I’ve written on this subject here.

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