Friday, January 25, 2013

It's Never Too Soon to Start Planning for College Costs

As we all know, college expenses are crazy these days, so from the moment you bring a little one into the world, it's time to start thinking about college. Your planning will continue as they age and approach college entry. To consider:

529 plans:  they offer tax advantages, and make it easy for grandparents to contribute if so desired. Even $100 a month can make a substantial impact. Important: do not let saving for a college plan ever take precedence over saving for retirement.

Try to resist student loans. Do not take on more in loans than half of what student expects to make their first year of working (starting salary).

Be sure to look for all scholarship opportunities. It's amazing how many are out there!

Pay close attention to financial aid forms (FAFSA and CSS). These can make or break your aid opportunities and are often filled out incorrectly.  It's not a bad idea to hire a professional to make sure this step is completed correctly. 

Plan your investments:  When your student is within two years of college, this is the time to become more conservative with your investments. It's not the time to be risky and potentially lose their college funds.