Planning for College: Key Steps


With rising college costs, many parents are worried about their children’s futures. Most people are not in the position to simply write out a check to cover the costs. What is a parent to do?


Start Saving Early

The earlier that you start saving for college, the better. Every bit that is saved is that much less that your child might have to one day take out in costly student loans.

Starting early allows for even very modest savings time to grow significantly. At an investment rate of a mere $100 per month with an 8% average annual return, those savings would mean $48,000 at the end of 18 years. That is a fairly reasonable chunk of money to help one’s child start off college.

You Don’t Need to Save It All

While the thought of saving up for the cost of college can seem overwhelming, it is important to remember that one need not save up the entire cost of four years at college or university.

Remember that there are other options such as grants and scholarships. As a last resort, there are even student loans.

Consider a 529 Savings Plan

One way to save for college is a 529 savings plan. There are no income restrictions on these, nor is there an age restriction for the person receiving the benefits from the plan.

This is a good way to stash away money somewhere that you won’t touch it.

Start Looking for Scholarships Early

There are many scholarships out there. However, many potential beneficiaries of these scholarships never even know about them.

While your child is still young, take a look at what is available. Does your job have a scholarship? Do you belong to certain clubs that have such benefits? What interests does your child have that could be nurtured that would lead to a scholarship?

Remember to look not only for the more common scholarships but also less obvious ones. For instance, there is even a scholarship for left-handed people.


Don’t Panic

Getting an early start helps to ease the panic. However, even if your start isn’t as early as you would like, don’t panic.

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