Young parents always have plenty on their minds, and parenting an infant or a toddler is truly a full-time job in and of itself. Nevertheless, as tough as it can be, it is important for parents of youngsters to think seriously about the future—and that includes their child’s eventual need for a college education.
Most of us are aware of the fact that college is expensive, and getting to be more so all the time. Moreover, we understand that tuition is something to start saving and planning for sooner rather than later. Beyond that, though, what should parents who are just starting out know and understand about college tuition?
When Should You Start Saving?
There isn’t necessarily a specific time to start saving—except, as soon as possible. This is not always easy for young parents to do, though it can be more feasible if grandparents are willing and able to pitch in a bit. Even investing a very small amount, early on, can yield solid results—a good investment strategy will help that small amount to grow over time. All told: Try to invest what you can, when you can.
How Much Should You Save?
Sadly, this is impossible to say for sure, as public versus private schools have wildly differing tuition amounts; scholarships and other forms of financial aid may or may not be available; and tuition costs tend to rise by around 7 percent each year. Again, the best approach is simply to save what you can, when you can.
What Cost-Saving Options are Available?
There are plenty of ways in which tuition costs can be reduced, though it is tough to bank on them until your child is old enough to start thinking more specifically and proactively about his or her education and career path. For example, attending a community college for two years and then transferring into a four-year program can cut costs significantly. Young parents shouldn’t commit to any of these ideas fully, but it is smart to at least keep them in mind.
Which Tuition Savings Plan is the Best?
There are a number of college tuition savings plans available, and parents are smart to make good use of them. With that said, there are different plans in different states, and it’s worth spending some time studying the different options and deciding on the one that makes the most sense for your family’s needs and goals.
This is something that a financial advisor can assist with; to learn more, we invite you to contact our team at your convenience.