Most therapists see a therapist.

The Seattle Seahawks have almost as many coaches as players.

And even the most seasoned climber doesn’t summit Everest without a Sherpa.

You know why?

Because having a guide helps.

If you don’t know the way, a guide is indispensable.

But even if you’re an expert or well on your way, a guide can offer assurance, show you a few shortcuts and make sure you don’t stray off course.

We are guides.

And we help people navigate something far more compelling than a trail or path or investment opportunities and the market.

We don’t start a relationship by offering hot stock tips and patent-pending investment strategies.

We sit down and get to know our clients.

Where are they in their lives?

What makes them happy and fulfilled?

What do they want from their future?

Once we know where they are and where they want to go, we can set out on a journey to get there together.

And hey, if we decide we want to change where we’re going or take a different route, that’s okay too.

We’re expert guides, so we can help even the most sophisticated investor, but we pride ourselves on making the complicated easy to understand for everyone.

So we don’t put our arms around a client’s portfolio and drag it over to our side of the table and tell them we’ll take it from here.

We work with our clients to make sure they understand and are invested in the decisions we make.

We don’t sell our clients products; we help them make choices.

About the kind of life they want to live.

About when and how they want to retire.

And what kind of legacy they want to leave behind for their families, their communities, and the world.

We are Summit.

And we know it’s a bit cheesy, but darn it, we believe this to be true.

We guide our clients towards their dreams.


Back-to-School Budgeting

Presented by Edward W. Grogan, IV

When handling financial matters with a college student, parents often struggle to find the right balance between hovering over the child’s every decision and granting too much financial freedom, too soon. Here, we’ll explore some common expenses that college students and their parents should factor into the back-to-school budget, as well as simple ways to stay on track.

Carefully consider off-campus housing
Is your student living off-campus this semester or considering it as an option in the future? If so, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind:

  • Establish a rental payment plan. Determine how much you’ll contribute to monthly rent costs and draft a feasible plan with your student. Be sure to read the fine print of the lease agreement in order to avoid any surprises down the road. And don’t forget to account for utilities, Internet, and other additional costs.
  • Coordinate with roommates. After formulating your plan together, your student should reach out to his or her roommates to ensure that all cosigners are on the same page regarding who pays for what. Clarifying expectations now will help avoid future confusion and stress.
  • Inquire about renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance helps protect your student’s property in the event of fire, theft, or other dangers. Although the landlord most likely has insurance for the house or apartment, such policies usually don’t apply to tenants’ personal possessions.

Plan for general expenses
In addition to housing costs, be sure to budget for other key expenses, including:

  • Transportation. Research the area and discuss how your student will get around campus, as well as how he or she will travel home for breaks. Will your child need to purchase a pass for public transportation, a parking permit, or a bike? If the college is far from where you live, how often will he or she return home?
  • Textbooks and supplies. According to the College Board, the average cost of books and materials runs about $1,200 per year at a four-year public college. Sites such as Amazon and carry new and used titles, often at significant discounts, and rental websites like or may offer up to 80 percent off standard textbook prices. Encourage your student to shop around for the best deals.
  • Entertainment and incidentals. Who will cover the costs of entertainment and other personal expenses while your child is at school? Again, it’s important to set reasonable expectations with your student about how much you plan to contribute. To cut costs, challenge him or her to look for discounts and inexpensive alternatives.
  • Future student loan repayment. If you cosigned a private student loan for your child, it’s wise to make a repayment game plan ahead of time. Keep in mind that the endorser is effectively responsible for making the payments if the student cannot. Be sure to consider the risks to your own finances in the event your child is unable to repay his or her loans on schedule.

Use this as a teaching moment
After discussing all of your student’s potential expenses, establish a plan of action that will help him or her stay on budget. Consider these tips:

  • Look into a joint checking account. Opening a joint account with a debit card will allow you to track your child’s expenses and ensure that he or she is paying bills on time. Instead of simply handing over your own credit card, this approach helps encourage financial autonomy while keeping you in the loop.
  • Take advantage of online resources. Mobile apps and websites like can help your student stay on budget by tracking weekly and annual spending.
  • Encourage independence. For parents of college students, it’s important to balance generosity with sound financial advice. In addition to preparing for a career, college is a great opportunity for your child to begin finding his or her financial footing and establish sound money habits that will last a lifetime.

View the original Commonwealth Financial Network article here.