Dear Fellow Fools,I am writing to give you all a Christmas present.I recently wrote a guide on how to finance a college education. It took a lot of hard work, and some creativity (I even visited a military recruiter), but the result was a document I was truly proud of. Drawing from my recent experience as a college student (my own family lost thousands of dollars due to not understanding the financial aid system and otherwise being unprepared), I felt sure that my report would be helpful to a lot of people. I put it on Soapbox.com, with visions of selling hundreds of copies.But reality quickly set in. Hardly anyone even seemed to notice my guide on Soapbox.com, much less actually buy it. When you counted the listing fees, I was barely breaking even. (This is not a criticism of Soapbox.com; there are many authors who have been very successful at selling their reports there. For me personally, though, I didn't seem to have the marketing skills to make it happen.) Meanwhile, I noticed onthis message board that a number of people were posting questions that are answered in detail by my report. It was such a shame that there was a resource available to answer these questions, but nobody was benefitingfrom it.Thus, I have given up my dreams of striking it rich by selling my college financing guide. I still want people to read it though, so I am giving it away. It is available at http://www.geocities.com/edmund_ross. The title is "Financial Planning for College" and it is geared towards people whose children have not attended college yet (the younger the child, the better). You are welcome to download it and share it with friends orfamily members who might be interested in such a guide.There is no catch. I am not trying to sell anything. I have already removed the report from Soapbox.com, so you can't buy it even if you wanted to. I just hate to see all the work I put into this report go to waste, when so many people could potentially benefit from it.Have a safe and happy holiday season.-- Edmund Ross
Postscript:I originally posted the above message a few days ago, but it was removed by The Motley Fool. I got a warning saying that commercial solicitations were not allowed. This made no sense to me, since my message was not commercial. I was saddened by the thought that TMF was starting to behave like The Man. They seemed to be saying that it was okay to try to sell my report (via Soapbox.com), but to give away information for free on TMF was forbidden. Perhaps they were afraid I would discourage people from selling anything at Soapbox.com? But then I got a new email from TMF, saying they had made an error in removing my message and inviting me to repost it. So The Motley Fool is not The Man after all. Thanks, TMF, for restoring my faith in you!-- Edmund Ross
Well, I don't think I need this guide, as I am on my way out, but thanks anyway. As for the money thing, why not make into a newsletter, monthly or quarterly. Mary Hunt, of Cheapskate Monthly fame, started her newsletter just so that she could pay off her cc bills. I'm not sure if the info is updated monthly or even quarterly, but I think it's a good idea. You could have a section on tips and letters, etc. Yeah, I know, way off the wall, but what the hell?Sunshine
EdmundRoss,Thanks for the guide. As the father of six and approaching the HS graduation of my oldest daughter I am lamenting the fact that we don't have the funds to send her where she would like to go. I will look over the information you have provided and hope for some insight into how I can help provide for her college education and prepare for the other 5 that will come along. Thanks for caring. SHStewart
Sorry to hear about the lack of interest in your report. I and some of my friends also wrote reports for Soapbox but nobody could find them in their crazy system. The only reports that seem to sell there are those that havew a very short term orientation, an easy way to make big money fast, etc. That marketplace evidently places little value on good long term planning where results do not come overnight.
Well, I don't think I need this guide, as I am on my way out, but thanks anyway. As for the money thing, why not make into a newsletter, monthly or quarterly. Mary Hunt, of Cheapskate Monthly fame, started her newsletter just so that she could pay off her cc bills. I'm not sure if the info is updated monthly or even quarterly, but I think it's a good idea. You could have a section on tips and letters, etc.Thanks for the encouragement, but at this point I don't want anyone to question my motives for giving away my report by trying to make money off it in any way. (As I said earlier, TMF already removed my post once because they thought it might be commericial, before changing their minds.) -- Edmund Ross
Sorry to hear about the lack of interest in your report. I and some of my friends also wrote reports for Soapbox but nobody could find them in their crazy system. The only reports that seem to sell there are those that havew a very short term orientation, an easy way to make big money fast, etc. That marketplace evidently places little value on good long term planning where results do not come overnight. I noticed that you also were offering a report on financing college at Soapbox that unfortunately sold about as many copies as mine did. It's very frustrating to put your heart into a project and then have it barely get noticed (as I know all too well), but I think your comment may be a little harsh on Soapbox. The trouble with trying to sell a college finance report is that the visitors to Soapbox are primarily looking for investment advice. Those who produced reports on either investment strategy or a particular market sector (wireless etc.) seemed to do well, while most of the rest of us didn't. This is only natural as The Motley Fool is primarily about investing, although they are also big on LBYM and reports with a general LBYM orientation have also done well. If you look at the total number of posts to this message board (as opposed to say, the mechanical investing board) you can see what we were up against. Hopefully TMF and Soapbox will eventually attract a big enough audience to make it easier for a broader class of reports to be successful. I don't want to blame anyone other than myself for my own failures, but I recognize now that I would have had to do an absolutely terrific job in terms of marketing in order to make my report a financial success, and that simply wasn't going to happen. That's why I ultimately decided just to give it away.-- Edmund Ross
Thanks for the info - I'm sorry your article didn't sell, however, it was a GREAT Christmas present! I am a single mom trying to take care of my 2 yr old (both financially and emotionally :o) and I am DETERMINED to save enough to help him significantly with college. My father has given me $1000 for Christmas to invest this yr and I've saved $1000. My problem is that I'm having a hard time knowing where to start. Your article looks like it has some good info for a beginning investor (at this point I am truly overwhelmed by the options) and maybe it will help me not duplicate some mistakes that other families have made. Thank you - I hope you receive an equally nice Christmas present!
Can anyone help me out? I just came across this message and would like to read the suggested article "Financial Planning for College." I tried to open it using AOL but haven't been able to do so. Has anyone else had trouble opening this web-page? Sounds like a great article that I need to read since I have 3 kids in college and haven't saved a penny. Cargeoma : > (
Has anyone else had trouble opening this web-page? Sounds like a great article that I need to read since I have 3 kids in college and haven't saved a penny.The link may be dead since it's old. If you haven't saved anything, I suggest you start at www.finaid.com and post more about your situation so other posters can help you. If any of your kids will be in college next fall, fill out a FAFSA as soon as possible - the link will have information on it. Also check the probable college's web site for more information on applying for financial aid. If you kids have a shot at merit aid(scholarships), again check the college's web site and apply pronto. Many of the merit deadlines have passed already.rad
Rad: Thank you for answering my post. I discovered the reason I couldn't open the file was I didn't have Adobe Reader loaded on my computer in order to open the file. After reading the Guide I highly recommend it as a MUST READ. It answered many of the questions I had. Post #3224 of this board. Use Adobe Reader to open.http://www.geocities.com/edmund_ross/college_planning_guide.pdfHope this helps to find the link. Cargeoma : > )
After reading the Guide I highly recommend it as a MUST READ. It answered many of the questions I had. As someone who has worked in higher education for a long time and has one child in college and one heading off next fall, I don't recommend it. There were flaws in it when it was published and there have been significant changes in the tax laws beginning with the current year - 2002 so some of it is outdated. rad
Hi,My daughter is going to collage in next two years.Can anyone share this guide if they have one?Please share any ideas on getting scholership for the collage.Thanks,
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