Don’t Miss This FREE Debt-Free College Newsletter

It's a Life-Changer for Busy Families

One of the greatest services I provide for parents is my debt-free college newsletter, which you can have delivered straight to your email inbox every Monday morning.

Parents who open this debt-free college newsletter every Monday keep debt-free college at the tops of their minds as their kids are growing up.

And the best news? This debt-free college newsletter is free.

debt-free college newsletter

For you as a parent, opening this debt-free college newsletter every week greatly reduces the probability that you’ll get so busy driving kids to soccer practice that you forget about this exciting, step-by-step debt-free college journey we’re on together.

If you’re not yet receiving my free debt-free college newsletter, just find the grey “Sign up for email updates” box on this web page. And then take one extra important step.

Whitelist this debt-free college newsletter using the clear instructions here.

If you fail to take this extra step, the newsletter may accidentally get misdirected into a folder you never check. This could result in you missing important details—or not being fully up to speed when there are important changes to college financing in the United States.

This could end up costing your family thousands in unnecessary college costs—and it could even be professionally destructive to you if you’re a school counselor, a private admissions advisor, or a financial planner.

This debt-free college newsletter is free, but it’s only available to people who open it.

Open it every Monday.

And if you believe that you’ve subscribed to my particular debt-free college newsletter but you aren’t seeing it in your primary email inbox, subscribe once more using the instructions above, and then follow the whitelisting directions here.

I want to help you.

Every Monday morning.

Continue Reading »

Are You Crying Over One of Your Kids?

If you’re crying over one of your kids, you’re not alone.

crying over one of your kids

Millions of parents are crying themselves to sleep, heartbroken over their kids’ situations or choices—but because we live in a picture perfect, Instagram filter world, very few parents talk about it.

If you’ve been crying over one of your kids lately, take comfort in this quote from author Anne Lamott:

“Crying is the way home: it bathes us, hydrates, moisturizes us, waters the ground at our feet, where birds have been dropping seeds from the next house and county—so who knows what may grow? Pansies, carrots, roses, mint.”

—Ann Lamott

If you’ve been crying over one of your kids, there is hope.

Kids grow up.

They change.

They make different choices at one part of their lives than they do at others.

And every year, better quality help becomes available.

If you’ve been crying over one of your kids, here are some resources that might help.

Continue Reading »

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!

Continue Reading »

How to Skyrocket the Growth of Your Teen’s Brain

In Just Minutes

Dr. Charles Fay of LoveandLogic.com is an expert at helping parents grow a teen’s brain by leaps and bounds—while helping adults enjoy a less stressful, more fun family life.

teen's brain

Dr. Fay recently said this on the subject of growing a teen’s brain:

“At Love and Logic®, we believe that kids are best prepared for the real world when we allow them to do as much thinking as possible. It’s good practice for the real world, and it keeps the monkey off of our backs most of the time. Here’s the problem. Do you know kids who like to keep adults doing all of the thinking? Do you know kids who are good at tricking us into doing so?”

One strategy for staying out of this trap is to use plenty of questions.

“The more questions we ask,” Dr. Fay says, “the better thinkers our kids will become.”

Why does this strategy work for growing a teen’s brain?

The human brain naturally seeks closure. When we ask a lot of sincere, good-hearted questions with genuine interest and empathy, it’s like we flip a switch in a teen’s brain that keeps him or her groping through possible answers. Sometimes for long after we’ve left the room.

Dr. Fay says that if we do this, our teen’s brain will have “less energy left over for power-struggles.”

Exactly what tired parents long to hear.

If you’re looking for ways to grow your teen’s brain while doing a lot less mental heavy lifting yourself, try using variations on these great Dr. Charles Fay questions:

Continue Reading »

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

Continue Reading »

The 5 Love Languages, Explained with Burritos

By this time nearly everyone’s heard of Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages. It’s sold over 11 million copies, it’s the 12th most popular book on Amazon (where it has more than 13,000 5-star reviews), and it’s been a New York Times Bestseller 8 years running.

Want a super fast explanation of The 5 Love Languages?

This funny explanation by @Alonzo_Creed has been retweeted 52,000 times on Twitter:

1. Words of Affirmation: “This is a good burrito.”

2. Acts of Service: “I made you a burrito.”

3. Receiving Gifts: “Here’s a burrito.”

4. Quality time: “Let’s go get some burritos together.”

5. Physical touch: Arms around a person wrapped in a warm hug, like a burrito.

Are you wondering which one or two of The 5 Love Languages your teen, spouse, or other loved one is most wired to receive? Use the quick free 5 Love Languages assessment that author Gary Chapman offers on his website. You might also love Gary’s other book: The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively.

Continue Reading »

What Happens to Student Loan Debt After You Die?

No parent wants to consider this — but what happens if one of your children runs up $80,000 in student loan debt, and then perishes in a car accident or dies of cancer? Will your grief be compounded by having to make years (decades!) of student loan payments, until the student loan obligation is paid in full? Every parent needs to be clear on the answer to this question: “What happens to student loan debt after you die?”

The answer is scary, but — there’s great hope for those who can plan ahead just a bit.

What happens to student loan debt after you die?

First, the good news, then the bad news.

Continue Reading »

Genius Strategy for Giving $20 in COLLEGE SAVINGS As Holiday Gifts

I post this important article every December. This year, it contains a brand new resource! A free downloadable bonus article with super helpful information for grandparents. To get straight to the free downloadable article, click here:

How to Give College Savings As Gifts and Get Happy Hugs in Response

Most grandparents love to dote on their beloved grandchildren, but let’s face it. Older kids and teens are notoriously hard to shop for.

How can grandparents give a relatively inexpensive holiday gift that will be remembered with tears and great appreciation for years down the line?

No matter your income level or budget, Grandma and Grandpa, here’s an ingenious idea for deeply impacting the kids you love this holiday season.

grandma

This idea will help you to take the $20 you were planning to spend on a holiday gift, easily put that money into the best possible kind of college savings account, and still have something meaningful and beautiful for the child or teen to unwrap at your family’s holiday gathering.

All without nicking your own finances or damaging the teen’s future financial aid eligibility in any way.

Continue Reading »

In Just 5 Minutes — Change Your Future Grandchildren’s Lives

grandchildren

Last year, I climbed a mountain in Zion National Park.

My husband, the avid hiker, gave me a set of hiking poles and these instructions: “When you start to feel exhausted,” he said, “just concentrate on your next step. Where’s the next, best place to put your foot? Carefully put your foot there, and before you know it you’ll be at the top.”

Many of us get through parenting in this exact same way.

Exhausted, we survive day-to-day by focusing on the bare minimum required next step in our parenting journey. Just getting through until bedtime, or until Saturday’s soccer game, or until the next school break. We limit our thinking to the immediate, the urgent, and the short-term—because that feels productive. It feels like we’re getting somewhere.

In truth, taking just 5 minutes to look at the long view can be exhilarating.

When I was climbing that mountain in Zion, the moments that took my breath away happened when I stopped, lifted my head, and looked out over miles of sheer cliffs and valleys, all the way to the misty distant horizon.

Taking 5 minutes to look toward the parenting horizon can be both exhilarating and transformative.

For 5 minutes right now, think, “What could we as a family do this year, that could impact our descendants 100 years from now?”

Is there something you could do now related to education, to money and debt, or to moral and spiritual development, that could pay off for generations to come?

Our culture is currently plagued and limited by a short-term thinking mindset. You don’t have to be.

Ari Wallach, in this powerful TED Talk, urges us all to transform our children’s and grandchildren’s futures by breaking free of the 3-5 year “short-termism” that, he says, “permeates every nook and cranny of our cultural reality.” Wallach calls us all to practice “longpath” thinking that asks this important question: “To what end?”

What is the purpose in what we’re doing? Where are we going with this?

How will these decisions we’re making today impact our family 100 years from now?

What could we do this year that could pay off in huge ways…for generations?

Carefully consider these words, which I consider to be the most important in Wallach’s TED Talk: 

Continue Reading »

My Best, Funniest Parenting Tip

For Parents of Kids Ages 8-18

In this short post, I’m going to share my best, funniest parenting tip.

This one makes me laugh just thinking about it.

funniest parenting

What do you do when your normally good kid turns sassy or disrespectful, or makes a deliberate choice that’s against family rules?

My mom used to make me sit on a hard chair facing an empty corner of our dining room for 20 minutes, and it was excruciating.

I use a different strategy for my kids. 

I make them watch TED Talks.

“Honey, would you please put your phone on the kitchen counter for awhile? Feel free to take it back after you’ve watched 30 minutes of TED Talks. Pick any subject you like! If you can’t get it done today, that’s OK. Any time this week will be A-OK with me.”

The results can be hilarious.

Continue Reading »