Why Community Colleges Are Important

Every parent and grandparent should read what I am about to say.
Your child should attend a community college first because it is critically important to their lifetime earning potential.  Your child will probably be hired for a job because of his or her education level and/or technical ability. 
The best way to ensure that and at the same time positively affect social equity and economic growth is to get your child into a community college right after high school. Don’t allow them to waste too much time between high school graduation and community college enrollment.  Idle hands are generally destructive.
The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce put out some projections earlier this year on job and education requirements through the year 2018. The study projects that 
  • 56% of jobs in Texas will require post-secondary education,
  • West Virginia will be the lowest at 49%,
  • The District of Columbia will be the highest at 71%, and
  • The national average will be 63%.

If this report is correct, an associate’s degree in the right field can be the key to improving your child’s lifetime earning potential.

The trick is to select the right field of study. If your child is good at math, suggest engineering or computer and mathematical sciences. If your child is good at science, suggest the medical field. If your child is an all-around superstar, look into business management.
There are plenty of scholarships available for minority students with good grades. Visit the counselor at your child’s high school to introduce yourself and to let that person know you are paying attention. Due to intense competition at the top, these children will need to continue their formal education.
Everybody likes to save money. The average cost for 12 semester hours (full-time resident student) at a state community college in Texas is about $780.00. These are core courses which will transfer to other state 4-year universities in Texas.
In comparison, the average cost for the same courses at a state 4-year university in Texas can run anywhere from $2,700 to $9,500. The actual cost depends on which school your child attends.

As a parent or grandparent, you can save more than 60% on the cost of your child’s education during the first 2 years by sending him or her to a community college. This is great if your child qualifies for financial aid. They can get more education for the dollar and not be burdened with a massive education loan bill to pay off after college.

A strange thing happened with my step-daughter between the ages of 18 and 20. She blossomed into a totally different person at age 20. She acted differently. She talked differently. Her major changed. She no longer wanted to save all of the stray animals in America. She became an education major and has been a teacher in Arizona for the past 6 years. She lives in her own home and drives her own car. It’s amazing!


Larry Carter Job Placement Program Specialist Center for Academic Transitions Palo Alto College



Are You Building Enough Wealth to Support Yourself in Retirement?


(NewsUSA) - The 21st century offers new opportunities and compelling reasons for workers to achieve the American dream of financial independence in retirement.

Fortunately, making that dream a reality got easier when President George W. Bush signed the Pension Protection Act of 2006 into law. This has enhanced the ability of millions of Americans to build wealth through retirement savings programs.
Americans today generally are saving less, spending more and living longer than previous generations. A longer life span means the need for increased savings. And the sooner workers start saving, the better. In financial planning, time is your best friend.
A $125-a-month investment at a modest 5 percent annual return adds up to $50,000 in 20 years, more than $100,000 in 30 years and nearly $200,000 in 40 years. The sooner you start putting money aside for your future, the longer that money can work for you.
If you see a dime on the sidewalk, you most likely will reach down and pick it up. Yet, many workers are leaving thousands of dollars on the table by not signing up for tax-deferred savings programs offered by their employers, especially when those employers provide matching funds. The problem is that some workers are unsure how to invest.
The Pension Protection Act helps solve this problem by making it easier for 401(k)-type plans to enroll workers automatically. Workers can always "opt out," but they won't "lose out" by not making a decision. Rules proposed by the Department of Labor boost retirement savings for these workers by creating appropriate default investments for long-term retirement savings.
Here are a few strategies to help you start taking charge of your retirement future:

* Participate in your employer's retirement plan at work, and be sure to take advantage of matching contributions.

* Increase the amount you contribute to your 401(k) or other retirement plan each year.

* If you're 50 or older, make additional contributions of up to $5,000 to catch up for years in which you did not put money into the plan.

* Be realistic about expenses in retirement to ensure that you do not outlive your savings. Be sure to account for healthcare costs such as prescription drugs.

Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. For more information, go to


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