facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog external search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause
All Aboard the Terrapin Express  Thumbnail

All Aboard the Terrapin Express

College Planning

Young man full of big plans and thinking about tomorrow 
Young man gonna make a stand  
You beg, you steal, you borrow 

This past weekend, my wife and I had the distinct pleasure of watching our oldest, Liam, graduate from college. Specifically, he graduated with dual majors in Marketing and Information Systems from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. While not a “pre-pandemic” occasion in terms of pomp and circumstance, Liam and his classmates celebrated this coming-of-age ritual under clear blue skies with the inspirational words of University President Darryll J. Pines and Commencement Speaker Peter Chapman, the President and CEO of IonQ. While optimistic words are important, the message from Chapman, the son of a NASA scientist and astronaut, was particularly nerve striking. IonQ was founded upon research from the University of Maryland, among others, and is located in the College Park Discovery District. Their goal is the commercialization of quantum computing. Stated differently, their aim is to harness quantum physics and to exponentially accelerate some computer operations to advance and hopefully solve some of humanity's greatest challenges, such as global climate change and disease. 

Are you gonna step into line like your daddy done 
Punching the time and climbing life's long ladder? 

Liam and his classmates, despite a suboptimal, pandemic-inflicted college experience, are a curious, engaged and optimistic group. Many of them are graduating and moving to new cities, new jobs and bright futures. In speaking to many of his friends' parents, another positive theme emerged. While not universal, many are graduating with little or no student debt. You see, these families had a systematic plan and the foresight to save for the future along the way. Using 529 college savings plans and other savings vehicles, the old adages of “pay yourself first” and “save early and often” paid off handsomely. Like all sacrifices in life, the modest give over time through dollar cost averaging (DCA) will enable these hard working young adults to go boldly into the world without the suffocating yoke of unaffordable student loan debt. This emphasizes the benefit of working with a trusted advisor and moving toward a purposeful future in advance, one little monthly baby step at a time. Whether it be saving for a first home, your children’s education or retirement, the gift of time combined with DCA is the little engine that could and will get you there. In fact, our new grad is going to be starting his own systematic savings program as he embarks on his career this summer.   

But one of these days, it’s gonna be right soon 
You’ll find your legs and go and stay gone 

The future is bright for the class of 2021, also known as Generation Z. Many in the group grew up as eyewitnesses to the great recession of 2008 and a variety of endless wars. Many saw the struggle firsthand as their parents lost their jobs and their homes; some would never fully recover. As a result, they tend to be very debt averse and more pragmatic in their view of the future. I love what I witnessed on Friday…a group of unique, confident and visionary young people anxious to hustle, collaborate and work toward a future bigger and brighter than their past.   

On the subject of his keynote address to the class of 2021, Chapman explained, “Now more than ever, these young people represent our shared faith in a better future, driven by bold thinking right here in Maryland.  I hope only to inspire them, the next generation of builders, as they have already inspired me.” I personally could not agree more.   

To Liam, Tommy, Brandon, Chris, Jack and all of the 2021 Terp graduates, I wish you the best and I cannot wait to see what you are able to collectively achieve. The world is desperate for leadership. All Aboard! It is time to “Bet on Maryland,” as expressed by Smith Commencement Speaker Kevin Plank, founder of UnderArmour, and roll on the Terrapin Express. 

Written by: Rob & Kathy Armstrong
Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
Beg Steal Or Borrow (Live on Letterman)
New York, NY

Check the background of this advisor on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.