Blog Single

If you’re a successful investment advisor, you already have considerable clients. So when someone suggests college funding as a way to attract new clients, you may wonder how in the world can “college” add anything to my current investment practice. Right?

The answer is grandparents. Your critical prospective clients, the ones with money to invest, are usually between the ages of 50-65 and older and they are more than likely to have grandchildren. Grandparents love to talk about their grandchildren. So even if they have a financial advisor, they will take the time to hear your discussion about steps their children can take to get their grandchildren into their dream college and save $10,000-$20,000 a year (or more) at the same time, using strategies developed and taught when you become a CCFS®.

College strategies have LITTLE to do with 529 plans. It’s more about picking the right schools the first time, to avoid the extra costs of attending college 5-6 years to graduate. It’s about using negotiating strategies that will get the student’s #1 college to offer more grants and scholarships. It’s also about cash flow techniques that can make the client more money than they would ever get in financial aid and unique money funding concepts that will help the client recoup their entire cost of college before they retire.

The investment choices in many 529s are limited, and in some cases, the fees are much higher than standard investments. There are also taxes and withdrawal penalties if you take out the money non-qualified education expenses.

The unique concepts taught by the Association of Certified College Funding Specialists (ACCFS) will give your clients much better results and more satisfaction than any tax savings on a 529 plan account. You can get 5-10 new high-end clients each year using our college funding concepts and strategies.

College Is About Generating Quality Leads

Many of our CCFS® members use a simple college funding process that is more about generating leads than planning for admissions and financial aid. Their concept is as simple as getting clients into their office to discuss why their investment planning concepts and strategies are better than the competition. Yes, they offer a college funding service, but it can be as simple as reviewing the client’s financials to set the student up more grants and scholarships and cutting the cost of colleges that are already overpriced.

Here’s a couple of strategies used by two CCFS® members that have nothing to admissions or financial aid:


A wealthy prospect came in to discuss funding college for his two children. When the RIA looked over the prospect’s taxes, he discovered the prospect had paid $25,000 in short-term capital gains tax, even though he said he never made any trades during the year. After further research, it was revealed that the prospect’s mutual funds were traded inside the fund consistently. When the RIA explained the term “turnover ratio” to the prospect and the fact that better management could result in a $25,000 per year tax savings that could be used for college well … their $1.15 million was moved to the RIA within three weeks.


A registered investment advisor captured $2.5 million in assets under management from one client when the executive came in to discuss financing the education of his four grandchildren. They were all planning to attend college within the next six years. Grandpa was not unhappy with his current investment return, but it wasn’t “investment return” that sealed the deal for the advisor. It was his discussion about “beta”; especially since the executive was 60 years old who was considering retirement in 3 years and now needed to help the grandchildren pay for college. The registered rep would NEVER have had this discussion if it wasn’t for “grandchildren” and “college” driving this prospective client to his office - and of course, the lack of attention of the previous advisor.

College Will Set You Apart From Other Investment Advisors

Are you in the business of keeping your current clients?
The next time the market goes down 50%, having discussions with your clients about unique ideas to help their children and grandchildren save money on college will go a long way toward keeping their confidence and loyalty.
Do you still accept referred leads from your current clients?
Having college funding discussions with your clients about their children and grandchildren will set you apart from other advisors and will give those clients a more compelling reason to refer others to you.
Are you in the business of capturing more clients?
What would 5-10 new high-end clients each year add you your business? You don’t need to set up an elaborate college planning practice. A simple discussion about their children and grandchildren and college funding can get them in your office with all their financials. That’s all you want in the first place, but it was “college” that started the investment conversation.

In the highly competitive market of investment planning, it’s just as important to keep a client as it is to get a new one. College funding can provide that unique value-added additional service that can separate you from your competition.

The rapid change in the college funding landscape over the last 20 years has necessitated a new college planning paradigm for financial advisors. Today consumers want more than just college savings products (529) from their advisor. They want their advisor to help them identify ways to reduce their out-of-pocket college costs - without compromising their retirement savings goals.

Financial advisors today who have the specialized capability to provide college investment plans AND college cost reduction strategies have a tremendous opportunity. They can use college to differentiate themselves from other advisors, deepen their current client relationships, and get in front of hard-to-get clients that already have investment advisors.

Posted by Ron Them

For over 30 years, the nation's leading financial advisors, broker/dealers, and major media outlets have been using his research, funding strategies, training, and insight. Ron is highly regarded as an expert in the college funding field.

He is a former Chief Financial Officer of a Fortune 500 company and currently owns his own financial advisory company specializing in cash flow planning for business owners and executives. He developed the Cash Flow Recovery™ process that uses cash flow management principals to increase asset value and build wealth for business owners.

He is also the originator of several software calculators to help advisors and families make college affordable, including:

* College QuikPlan EFC Calculator
* "Find the Money" College Cash Flow Calculator
* College Debt Reduction Calculator

Ron has been quoted in U.S. News and World Report, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Smart Money, Financial Advisor Magazine, Small Firm Profit Report, Practical Accountant, LIMRA's Market Facts, Senior Advisors Magazine, HR Magazine,, Employee Benefit News Magazine,, Entrepreneur Magazine, Insurance Selling Magazine,, The Christian Voice, and Columbus CEO Magazine.