9 | Planning for College

On this month’s Outspoken Voices podcast, we talk to three financial professionals about how to plan and save for college. All of our guests make an effort to ensure financial planning and advice are accessible to members of LGBTQ families. Listen and learn their tips for investing in your children’s college education.

Meet Our Guests

Amy Ford is an agent, author, adoption advocate, and mother. As a career agent with New York Life Insurance Company since 2012, Amy works with families and small business owners to plan for brighter futures. She is a passionate advocate for families of all kinds, especially those created through adoption like her own, and protecting families from the financial hardships that occur when the unexpected happens is paramount. Amy grew up in South Mississippi and moved to Austin in 1999. She and her partner, Kim, live in Austin, TX where they are raising 3 daughters, ages 14, 11 & 8. Amy and Kim served as foster parents for 8 years, having parented dozens of children. From her experience in loving and living with children of different races, Amy wrote the book Brown Babies Pink Parents, which was published in 2010. She is frequently a paid speaker and trainer for foster and adoption agencies around the South, helping families navigate the challenges presented by transracial parenting. Amy is also an Ambassador for the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Founder and President of Parenting Across Color, and member of First Baptist Church of Austin.

Rene Debelius is Director of Marketing for Diverse Financial Partners, LLC, Rene manages all scheduling, marketing and community outreach and engagement, and has a strong background in communications, social media and management. Rene earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in 2006, concentrating on social justice and peace studies issues, and a Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of Baltimore in 2011. In her spare time, Rene enjoys cooking, and arts and crafts projects with her kids.

Lauren Debelius is the Principal of Diverse Financial Partners, LLC, a financial practice with the belief that ALL families deserve access to financial services and guidance. Diverse Financial Partners, LLC is committed to their clients and works tirelessly to build long-lasting relationships. Lauren is a licensed agent and a registered representative to sell life insurance and securities through New York Life Insurance Company and NYLIFE Securities LLC. In addition to her industry experience, Lauren holds a MBA from the University of Maryland, a FINRA Series 6 license for the State of Maryland, and is dually licensed to sell life insurance and annuity products in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and Arizona, with additional plans for growth in the future.

Lauren is a loving wife and mother of 2 children. Lauren is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table (2016), an elite worldwide organization for financial services professionals, as well as an Executive Council qualifier (2016) and a President’s Council Qualifier (2017) for New York Life. During her free time, she gives back to her community by serving on various planning committees for our local school, as well as with the Institute of Notre Dame in Maryland.

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