Podcast | Season 2 | Episode 01

The Discerption

Ready to discover the importance of early college planning and the tools to achieve it? Our guest, Josh Oller, a financial advisor at Summit Wealth Group, brings his unique blend of experiences and knowledge to illuminate this crucial topic. From his personal journey as a former golf player at Mississippi State to his insightful perspective as an MBA graduate, Josh helps us navigate the path to a better, more secure future. We dive into the nitty-gritty of college planning and savings, exploring everything from picking the right college to the numerous scholarships available and understanding the benefits of a 529 account.

This episode is stacked with valuable insights for parents, grandparents, and prospective students!

A little more about Josh Oller:

Josh joined Summit Wealth Group in July of 2019 working alongside Chris Wells as a Financial Advisor in Summit's Ridgeland, MS branch office.  Josh completed the CFP® certification in October of 2021. He spends time with Chris in an advisory role and is also part of Summit's financial planning department.

Josh is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where he obtained both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Administration, all while competing for the MSU golf team.  Josh began his career in the banking industry in 2012 and eventually found his niche in the credit department of the bank, where he became the VP of Credit Administration.  In this role, Josh was able to learn the many aspects of corporate finance, taxation, and business cash flow. 

Josh later realized that his real passion was working with people.  He wanted a career that helped people reach their goals and is excited to help our team assist clients with navigating the bumpy road to the lifestyle they seek.  

Josh currently resides in Jackson, MS, with his wife, Mollie, daughter, Betts, their cat, Lady Grey, and their dog, Rory. Josh and Mollie love outdoor activities and anything that revolves around food! They often joke that their vacations are focused mainly on what places have the best local restaurants. Josh still has a strong passion for golf and regularly competes at various tournaments throughout the state.

Securities and Advisory Services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Fixed insurance products and services are separate from and not offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.

Thanks for listening! Make sure to follow us on all the socials at @summitwealthgroup, so you don't miss an episode!

The Transcript 

Jessica

"Welcome to season two of the Reach Your Summit podcast, where we help you navigate the path to a better, more secure future. With the start of a new season, you may be noticing that there's a different voice in your ears or, if you are watching on YouTube, a different face here in the video. My name is Jessica Magnuson. I am the marketing assistant here at Summit Wealth Group and I'll be taking over for Stephanie and Jamie. I'm joined today by one of our very own advisors in our Ridgeland, Mississippi office, formerly Madison, Mississippi office, Josh Oller. How are you today, Josh?"

Josh

"I'm good. How's it going with you?"

Jessica

"Pretty good, pretty good."

Josh

"Honored to be here."

Jessica

"So for those of our listeners who don't know you, and clients maybe that are listening from afar, tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you?"

Josh

"Yeah, so, like I said, my name is Josh Oller. I'm a financial advisor here at the Ridgland office. We recently just relocated from Madison to Ridgland and not far down the road, I joined Chris Wells and his team here back in 2019. I grew up here, just outside of the Jackson Mississippi area. I went to school at Mississippi State University, hail State, go Dogs, nice. I actually played golf there and so I'm a big golfer. Moved back home shortly after college and worked in banking for a little while Always kind of worked in the finance industry, but really kind of started working one-on-one with clients doing financial planning and wealth management back in 2019 I joined Chris here."

Jessica 

"Nice. So you mentioned going to Mississippi State. Are you still a big fan on Saturdays?"

Josh

"I am, there's not a whole lot to cheer about so far this year. Yeah, in football the dogs are struggling a little bit. My golf dogs are doing well, but yeah. So I usually make it up for a game or two and I watch them. I still pull four for them, but we're never going to be the Alabama's and Georgia's of the world football."

Jessica

"Yeah, yeah, but still good to have something to cheer for, that's right."

Josh

"I'm always going to cheer for them. It's always important."

Jessica 

"Well, that kind of leads us great into our discussion today. So for the listeners, over the next couple of weeks we're going to be talking about all things to do with college planning and savings. What even do you plan for when you're going to have a child go into college, or maybe you're going back to school? So would you tell us what was your college experience like? How did you choose to go to Mississippi State? Do you go there all four years? What was it like?"

Josh 

"Yeah, so my college experience was definitely a little more unique. I did have some scholarships available whenever I was kind of planning through scholarship planning colleges, but at the same time I was not this young phenom golfer that had my pick of the litter whenever I was coming up. I was a decent high school golfer and my family my parents are from North Carolina and Virginia area. My dad went to university at North Carolina, so I grew up on North Carolina basketball and we never really watched football down here in the South. I mean, everybody watched in the South. We didn't. We almost Mississippi State's the big egg ball rivalry. We didn't care, we weren't paying attention to it. And then I got to be a decent golfer and it wasn't good enough to go play in a Division I school, any kind of big school, and so I actually went to junior college. Or else I was good enough to get a scholarship to go to junior college and I'll tell anybody that I basically like lost, you know, blacked out, played the best golf I've ever played in my life for one year in junior college and at that point in time I had some scholarships available to play at basically the big three here in Mississippi, that's, ole Miss, mississippi State and Southern Miss. And in golf nobody gets a full ride really. And so I had some partial scholarships and really I just kind of did with any other other, you know high school, you know junior, senior or dudes. I just took some visits. You know, I kind of got to know the coaching staff, visited all three schools and you know nothing wrong with all three any three of them but my heart was drawn to Mississippi State. I had a lot of friends up there and so I ended up going to Mississippi State. I played golf there for three years, ended up red-shirting one year, and so for those who don't know what that means, that means basically you just sit out a year and don't play. But you know, I got a little bit of scholarships. I got some scholastic scholarships and then I had a 529 account at the time that helped pay for a little bit of college and then my parents helped supplement a little bit and so I went to you made it work, I made it work. Made it work, went there for three years and then I got some scholarships to go get my MBA there, which is Masters in Business Administration, nice, and I got my. I think I was there for a good solid four or five years. Then it went on about my way. Yeah, that's awesome I got a little bit of experience in all of it."

Jessica

"Yeah, definitely, it sounds like it. You went a couple different routes and got to choose a little bit. So when parents come in, or people that are maybe going back to college, or grandparents that are wanting to help their grandkids, what do you say? How do you start this college conversation when they're like we have no clue, we don't know where to start with choosing a college, and how do we even estimate how much this is going to cost us?"

Josh 

"Yeah, good question. And just like anything, just like retirement, just like school, just like anything else in life, start early. Start early is the most important thing I can tell, especially when you're trying to find what school you want to go to. You see a lot of kids these days. They get into high school. Their whole world's changing, they don't know what's going on. Going from middle school to high school Mississippi is going from eighth grade to ninth grade and, honestly, if you can kind of push the conversation with your children about, hey, let's start thinking about college in ninth grade even, let's start thinking about the SAT, the ACT, let's start thinking about what you want to do in life, what college you want to go to. Earlier the better."

Jessica

"Yeah."

Josh

"My wife. I did not grow up. I feel like I love my parents' death, but I don't think they knew what the ACT was, and so I didn't either."

Jessica

"Yeah."

Josh

"I did not grow up in that household. We were playing sports and doing whatever. And so my wife, on the other hand I mean I think she took the ACT eight times. She was trying to get the top score and get the scholarship. They had a lot of conversations with her about that and then by the time my wife was in junior year she started taking visits to colleges. She's from Jackson Mississippi, I know she went to the University of St Louis. She went to a bunch of schools kind of the Midwest, just going on visits. She had no idea if she was going to get a scholarship. She didn't know any kind of need-based financial aid, she was just going and checking it out and so highly recommend doing that. Because you may think on paper you're going to fall in love with. I want to go to University of Georgia. That seems like a good time. You go over there and maybe this is not your culture, maybe it's not your fit, maybe it's not even feasible cost-wise. We all want the best for our children, but sometimes you got to draw a line on this thing and say you know what. We can't afford University of Georgia. You know however much it's going to cost. You've got to have real conversations with your kids and say you know, here's, you know I want you to go and explore, but there may be some limitations on where we go to college and so, you know, starting early and taking visits, you know. I highly recommend looking into, you know, specialized degrees. A lot of colleges you know have specialized degrees. Some colleges focus on engineering, some colleges focus on veterinary school. Certain colleges if you want to go be a lawyer or go to med school, you go to these colleges. You don't go to those colleges. So now there's not every 16-year-old knows what they want to do in life."

Jessica 

"Lord knows, I had no clue what I want to do in life, so I don't even know what I thought about doing when I was 16. Surely not this, though."

Josh 

"I wasn't going to be a professional golfer. You know there was no backup land and so you know. But having those conversations with your kids is very important because I just think you know when I was coming up through school you just went and got you know a business degree. Then you went and got your MBA and you're going to be fine. That's just not the case anymore. You know you need a specialized degree, a specialized focus. You know I've got all kinds of lists out here about you know how much money kids are going to make X amount of years if they go get this degree, if they go get that degree. You know how much money you're going to make versus trade school. That's a big conversation right now about trade school versus college. Those are all very important decisions to make because, like I said, not every kid needs to go to college. Maybe that's not the path for your child, but you know, starting early, taking those visits, having those conversations with your child about you know what is it you want to do. They may not know the major change four times, but you know you've got to start somewhere and starting early Very important."

Jessica 

"Definitely Preparation is key. I remember going to college. I was the first one in my family. We had no clue about anything. We had no clue what even entailed me going away to school, and so getting in there and visiting a few schools was a huge part of kind of even feeling like we knew what was happening or was to come."

Josh 

"My mom did not go to college, my dad. He went to college for a year, went for him. He went to the University of North Carolina and then he went to a trade school, learned how to fix airplanes, and then that's what he did the rest of his life and had a great career. College is not the guaranteed path for everybody, but you know for the most part. You know there's always exceptions to the rule of college education. Kids who graduate college tend to earn more than kids who don't."

Jessica

"So when you maybe you have a few colleges narrowed down, you're thinking of these few that you really feel connected to. You've gone on the visits, all that stuff. Where do you start with estimating the cost of what you're going to even need to go to college?"

Josh

"I mean there's tons of publications out there. As far as the cost, you can always go directly to the website. You know, with the Mississippi State University, while I was doing a little research on this, you know they've got the cost, you know, published right there on the web. Most kids don't end up paying the sticker cost. You know you've got scholarships. It's from you know you can get scholarships at your high school. You get scholarships from, you know, directly from the school. You can get scholarships from the federal government. There's all kinds of need-based aid out there. Most kids don't end up paying the sticker price. However, me being a planner, I like to plan on worst case scenario and so you go out there and you do your research and you see, you know X college is going to cost. You know the sticker price. They always include tuition fees, room and board. The whole deal is going to cost $27,000, which I think is $23,000 as a public in-state and generally what it costs for everything public in-state, for your university is about $23,000, $24,000. And so you start doing the math on that. When you inflate the education cost at 4-5%, it's a really big number by the time you're. You know, little Johnny he's three years old goes to school. Don't get freaked out. Get a plan in place. You know, talk to an advisor, do your research on how much can I realistically save. You know, a lot of times students will talk to clients about hey, do you want to have your child have some skin in the game? I talk to a lot of clients all over the place who say, hey, you know, when I went to school I had to get a job. You know, when I went to school I had to get a little bit of a student loan. You know, however that may be, I know student loan conversations. You may be a conversation for another day, but you know that we can go down, we can spiral down."

Jessica 

"There's a lot there. Yes, there's a lot there."

Josh 

"But ah, I like to tell clients let's maybe plan to pay for 60% of college. Just plan to pay for 75% of college. Get a number in place, get a plan in place that, hey, we're going to start funding some type of account, whether that's a five 29, whether that's a taxable brokerage account, whatever it may be. You have those conversation, clients, let's get the ball rolling downhill on some savings. Yeah, definitely there is tons and tons of publications out there to figure out what the cost of school is. I read something the other day. I said the average, the sticker price for Princeton we all know Princeton is $57,000 a year. That's tuition and fee. The average student there paid $17,600 a year. So there is a lot of scholarship, so don't get scared when you see the sticker price."

Jessica 

"So you mentioned when you can go to the publications and kind of see tuition, remember all those things. So there's a lot more to be accounted for than just paying for your classes, maybe, or whatever else. But what do you generally tell people that they need to account for? Because I know when I went to college I was lucky enough to have a scholarship that covered most of my tuition, but there was still a lot of other stuff that I ended up having to pay for and taking out loans for, just for living expenses and such Local plans are a big one."

Josh

"Kids got to eat while we're up there. You can. A lot of times you can purchase those through the school. A lot of them have I don't know Mississippi State and Starkville. They've got these what they call bully cards at participating restaurants. You load those up with $5,000 a year. They run around swiping it left and right. Rumen Boards the big one. Like I said, you got to think about the city and the town that you're living in. I promise you it's a heck of a lot cheaper to go to school in Starkville, mississippi, than it is in Atlanta, georgia, if you want to go to Georgia to enter Emory or something like that. Rumen Boards I remember back when I was in college that had been 18 years ago. It was $450 a month for rent and those days are long gone. I talked to them oh yeah, yeah, it means probably $1,000 a month in rent. Food. Transportation is a big one. Like I said, you've got to be in most places, not in big cities. You got to have a car, they got to drive, they got to have gas. It's very expensive. The reason we do this is because we're trying to provide a better future for our children. I talked to a client. It's kind of what I was talking about earlier about getting a focused degree, making sure you have a purpose when you go to college. If your goal in college is to have fun, you're probably not going to get your return on investment. Yeah, I want to talk about in general, students. People who graduate college earn higher wages shortly after four years, five years, 10 years down the road. It's because they work their butt off in college. They made good grades, they actually dedicate themselves to learning a craft and they went out in the world and applaud that craft."

Jessica

"Yeah, Well, there has to be a balance. You have to enjoy yourself, but also know what you're there for Exactly. You're paying a lot of money to be there."

Josh

"That's right."

Jessica

"Yeah, there's definitely both sides to that, but staying focused and the grades are definitely an important part, without a doubt. Yeah Well, we are just diving in, just dipped our toes into this whole college conversation. Over the next few weeks, we're going to be talking all things college, with some more planning, savings and other options with going to college, and then we will be touching on the big elephant in the room of student loan debt and what that looks like in today's day and age. Next week, we're talking about the options for saving and what you need to know if you want to start saving for your child, your grandchild or anyone else that's going to be heading to college. Thanks for listening to the Reach your Cemetery Podcast brought to you by Cemetery Wealth Group. If you enjoyed this episode and would like to help support the podcast, please share it with others and subscribe so you don't miss an episode. If you have any questions or topics that you'd like us to cover, please email us at info@semitwealthgroupcom"