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Old 02-12-2016, 09:22 PM   #1
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Hi, I am 43 married with one smart teenager at home. When I say smart I mean he is in his second year of high school taking tough courses and has a 4.6 GPA. I hoping that will help with paying for college.

Recently we had to file Chapter 13 due to poor decisions on my behalf. I am usually pretty good with money but I have several sleeping disorders along with a recent diagnose of being bipolar. I can see it now, anyway after years of poor sleep and barely surviving(the lack of sleep) I started spending without thinking and that was our down fall. I am now back on track and I have always planned on an ER. For me an ER would be around 55 but I have a long way to go before I am ready in the money part. I only started my 401k five years and contributed very little. I had just upped it 15% when my bankruptcy attorney told me that the trustee would only 6% (company match) so when BK is over will have a lot of ground to make up and will max out my contributions. I am not sure what my other steps should be besides trying to build a good emergency fund. I will wait till I read some more on the forum before asking specific questions but I look forward to learning.

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Old 02-12-2016, 09:51 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard, longway2go!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Glad you found our forum. Lots of good info here and tons of helpful posters.


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Old 02-13-2016, 01:13 PM   #3
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Welcome! For me the first step in ER planning was to get a good handle on what I actually spend, and on what. Tracking each penny spent will help you analyze your budget to see where you can make cuts without sacrificing too much. Every bit your able to cut from spending helps in two ways - it gives you more money to invest for your future and it also cuts down the aggregate amount you need to have saved for FIRE!
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Old 02-13-2016, 03:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by longway2go View Post
Hi, I am 43 married with one smart teenager at home. When I say smart I mean he is in his second year of high school taking tough courses and has a 4.6 GPA. I hoping that will help with paying for college.
Welcome to the forum! Here's a small lesson concerning paying for college that I've gone through....

My experience indicates that a kid with excellent grades wants to go to a mainstream school, smarts alone won't get you money to pay for college*. There are special programs that offer scholarships, but the kids that win those are kids with "helicopter parents", doing community service and all kinds of amazing do-gooder things on their "brag sheet" from when they were old enough to walk. Occasionally, though, a less prestigious school offer academic scholarships to increase their average SAT score or align their racial makeup. And athletic scholarships are common, but only the really best athletes get those. If "all" of your savings is in retirement accounts, student financial aid could come to the rescue; expected family contribution is based on income and assets**.

So as you plan, I'd say count on some other way fund college.

* DD1 got nothing but A's and took every honors and AP course she could get, but no academic scholarship since she picked an internationally recognized private university. DD2 got a B or two, took every honors and AP course she could get, but no academic scholarship since she went to the hardest to get into state university.

** Very roughly, EFC is calculated by adding up your 'available from income' (income less federal taxes, less SS, and less $25k) plus 'available from assets' (non-retirement assets less $50k times 0.12). Then EFC is $8K plus 0.47 times the total available from both income and assets that exceeds $30K. Oh, and 25% of any money in the kid's name is added to the EFC.
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:19 PM   #5
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:13 PM   #6
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The kids in my son's high school with those grades got full ride scholarships. I hope your kid can find one of those. My son was offered a 50% scholarship at Temple based on his grades but none of us liked the program or the area (awful part of Philadelphia). He wasn't even trying for one! He only had a 3.7 GPA.

Start looking for scholarships ASAP. The school counselors may help. And the Internet, of course.

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