Planning For College
Today she's driving her tricycle around the back patio, tomorrow she'll be driving her car around campus. Have you been planning for your child's college education? Will you be ready?
It's no surprise that college tuition keeps spiraling upward, especially in today's economy. If you think it's expensive todayâ€¦just imagine what heights it will reach by the time your child is ready for college tomorrow. Is it discouraging? It doesn't have to be if planning your child's college education starts now.
First and foremostTAKE CARE OF YOUR RETIREMENT!Don't wait! Take care of yourself first. The sooner you start, the more your money will compound and grow. Consult a trusted financial advisor who will help you strategize a retirement plan that will leave you in a comfortable financial position when the time comes to retire. Need be, your child can take out a college loan, but you can't take out a retirement loan.
Should you finance your child's college education?There are various opinions on this. I'm of the belief that funding a child's college education should be split four ways. To what percentage you make the split â€¦or if you even agree, is up to you.
Tax shelter options
Do your homework!A well-known site that helps families plan for financing education costs is FinAid.org. Take the time to research all your options when planning for your child's college education. Yes, many offer excellent tax advantages. Some plans, however, may reduce the amount of financial aid for which you may qualify. Every plan has its advantages, disadvantages, stipulations and penalties, and it's up to you to decide which works best for your family. As in all other financial investments, getting wise advice is crucial. Speak to trustworthy financial and tax advisors about getting the most for your savings dollar. You also want to be flexible, since programs and investments continue to evolve. Tax laws and your own circumstances will also change. Review your financial situation with your advisors periodically and make appropriate adjustments. You also want to speak to a high school counselor about available scholarship and grants. When it comes to the high cost of a college education, you want to get the most bang for your buck.
Something to think aboutPlanning for your child's college education is something you want to start working on now, even though he or she is still in diapers. Once you have a plan in place, stick to it! You'll be able to sleep like a baby once you do.