Chris Everett Founder Story
I have always been fiercely independent and ambitious, even as a young girl. My parents owned a restaurant and I wanted to have something of my own one day. Sometimes though, no matter how hard we plan, life interrupts and we end up on a different path – hopefully even a better road than originally planned.
I wanted to be a doctor. Yet I had no idea my parents had not planned on sending me to college because I was a girl! My heart broke. After all, they encouraged me – even expected me to be a top student. I couldn’t comprehend why I was made to study hard, get A’s and not expect to go to college.
Perhaps I didn’t understand their financial responsibilities. I have three brothers and maybe they only had enough to send them to college. I left home at seventeen to live with my aunt in Chicago and – work. I didn’t know about scholarships and student loans for emancipated students. I could probably have received a free ride to a top school, but didn’t know any of that and neither did my family.
After I married, I went to University of Illinois at Chicago. Toward the end of my first year I got pregnant and never went back. Later I went to Triton Community College to complete my Associate’s degree, but life occurred and I had to start working again. All of sudden I was on my own raising two young girls as a single mom. I became a voracious reader to educate myself and make up for all that I didn’t get in college. When it came time to put our first child through college, my level of ignorance about college funding was high. My daughter had to borrow the maximum allowed for students. Nonetheless, we are blessed that she finished in four years with a great job offer before she even graduated.
I probably have the equivalent of a master’s degree by now – although not formally. Being self-taught has its advantages. I learned applicably-focused information and saved a bundle of money. One day I found a list of successful people who didn’t attend college and I realized I was in good company. If you look at my practice today, many of my clients have multiple degrees. So while my family couldn’t help me get a college degree, my Dad used to tell us over and over to do things right or don’t do them at all. That has been a great foundation to stand on. It’s also the birthing of my desire is to help every client create a personal wealth solution. It has to be personal because we all come from such varied background and resource levels. Personal also because you have to own it and really understand it whether it’s a college funding plan or a retirement plan.
How ironic after all my college starts and stops, I now help people go to college very cost-effectively. I discovered college planning when a client needed college funding help. Unfortunately, he had to find a college planner because my practice was focused on estate, insurance and retirement planning. He came back about a year later to encourage me to learn what his college planner helped him to do. And so my study began. Studying everything I could about college planning, I was shocked to learn that the financial services industry “education” actually exposed my clients to higher college costs. I called every client to re-educate them and get each of them on a better financial footing. As a result, those families are more financially secure today for their own retirement, with significantly lower college costs!
While it’s great to help you pay less for college, equally important is helping your student identify best fit careers, correct majors and the right college to attend. It’s unnecessary to have a student on the wrong campus in the wrong career path. Plus, it’s emotionally expensive. Today I am proud of the academic tools we offer to students and the funding solutions we provide to parents. If you have children, I hope you give us the opportunity to offer college planning as a service to you. There are big wins available. After all, a lower college cost means more money in your own retirement plan. Helping families plan for a sound financial future is my passion, and I am honored to be able to get the message out and do what I love.
President, Everett Wealth Solutions, Inc.