Vicki Vollweiler: Founder, College Financial Prep
Today, we are pleased to feature in the Sammy Spotlight – Vicki Vollweiler!
Vicki is the Founder of College Financial Prep. She is a hard working divorced mom of two wonderful children: a college Senior, who is soon heading off to Graduate school and a Middle School Cheerleader. They both love music!
Vicki understands first hand the financial complexities of sending a child to college. It informs and inspires her work with both traditional and complex families.
Now, in her own words, Vicki shares her story!
Growing up, my parents were always teaching me about money, indirectly. My father was a CPA and a Tax Attorney so that was his focus, professionally and personally. I grew up comfortably but my parents were conservative and always believed in saving for a rainy day. They never over extended themselves, never had credit card debt and they always believed in spending the least amount possible to get exactly what it was that they wanted, whether it be a certain style piece of clothing or a new car.
EARLY MONEY LESSONS AND KEY TAKEAWAYS
The importance of paying bills on time and living within one’s means was ingrained in my mind. These are key takeaway to teach our children:
(1) Do not spend more than you can afford to pay at the end of the month
(2) Stick to a budget!
PASSING KNOWLEDGE TO THE NEXT GENERATION
For me, it became extremely important to find ways to teach my children about money and with my children, any math problem becomes a financial lesson!
“You received $10 for your birthday from Grandma. You want to buy a $7 toy. How much change will you receive from the cashier at the store?
A decimal problem like 12.27 + 15.78 = became $12.27 + $15.78. How much money do you now have saved in the bank?
And, as the kids get older… percents! “You are in a store and want to buy a new computer. It is originally $500. It is on sale for 20% off. How much is the new price? And, most importantly, is it a good deal? Or, can you still get that computer for less elsewhere?
THE REALITY OF MONEY
So many children, even those in high school and college, don’t fully understand the concept of money and savings. It’s so important to start in small, innocent ways when they are young. And as they grow older, to keep reinforcing those concepts, and adding new ones, that will help them to lead financially secure and financially savvy lives.
By founding College Financial Prep, I am now able to leverage my financial knowledge to help both parents and students make informed financial decisions about college and a major life milestone rather than purely emotional decisions that might have severe, negative financial consequences. It feels absolutely wonderful!
MY GOAL AND WHY
I earned and received a free full ride merit scholarship plus stipend to Syracuse University for my MBA. Education, formal and informal, have played a vital role in my life. I want young people to have access to the same benefits as well, if they want them. Not everyone will necessarily qualify for every scholarship. I want them to know that is okay and that it is still possible to get a college education (and even scholarships) without accumulating massive amounts of student loan debt!
PARENTS WANT TO KNOW
Parents often ask me when they should complete the FAFSA application. It’s important for parents to realize that filling out financial aid forms is only one step of a process that should start by 11th grade and begins with college research and calculations based on the family’s specific financial needs and the child’s academic accomplishments. It is also important to consider the potential salary depending on the child’s future career goals. Then the process continues throughout every year of college for the student. There may be changes in circumstances that warrant an increase in financial aid for the student. Keeping an eye on the bottom line; that is the best way to save money.
THOUGHTS ON FINANCIAL EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS
Personal finance should be taught in the public schools, but it usually isn’t. It is important kids learn the concepts of budgeting, how to use a credit card, student loan debt (and interest), and income vs expenses.
FAVORITE MONEY QUOTE
My favorite quote is attributable to Ben Franklin. I share it all the time.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
This applies to so many things in life, but is certainly true with saving money on the cost of college!
LEARN MORE ABOUT VICKI VOLLWEILER
To learn more about Vicki Vollweiler visit her at CollegeFinancialPrep.com
If you have questions, suggestions or would like learn more about Sammy Rabbit and his mission, contact us!
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