College Financial Planning for Middle School Parents

Refining the vision

With kids in middle school and becoming increasingly independent, the family’s financial priorities have likely shifted from the early parenting years. You or your spouse may have reentered the workforce, changed jobs or maybe started a business. Perhaps you bought a larger house, went through a divorce or saw your retirement savings shrink in the market downturn. Meanwhile, your child’s college years are growing ever closer.

Now is the time to review priorities and refine your college savings goals. So, let’s put a price tag on that vision.

Yes, college costs will change by the time your children are ready to enroll. But working toward a poorly defined goal is one of the best ways to produce well-defined stress. (more…)

College Financial Planning for Young Parents

A Six-Figure Investment: First, Figure Out Your Values and Needs.

Then You Can Help Your Kids.

As every parent knows, college isn’t cheap. Tuition plus room and board can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than $35,000 a year. Multiply that by four, and add in an average 7% annual tuition increase and it’s easy to see why saving enough for college is one of the biggest concerns of my financial-planning clients.

This task is made doubly challenging by the simultaneous need to save for our own retirements. But it can be done! (more…)

Don’t Call Me A Mean Mom, But … You Shouldn’t Pay The Entire College Bill

You expect your kids to go to college, of course. And if you’re like many parents, you probably expect to foot the bill for a good chunk of that education—or maybe even all of it. After all, isn’t sacrifice what “good parents” do to help their kids get ahead?

I’m going to take a slightly controversial stand here and argue for the importance of having college students shoulder some of the burden of their education. Here’s why: (more…)

Transferring Assets to a 529 Plan

529_planBy now most Americans who are saving and investing to pay for college costs have probably heard that so-called 529 college savings plans allow tax-free distributions for qualified education expenses, potentially making them even more attractive and effective than in the past, when they were only tax deferred. Add that tax benefit to other benefits of 529 plans, including high contribution limits, and many families may want to consider taking advantage of the plans. (more…)

Annual Report Shows College Cost Increases Slowing

The latest report on college costs published by the College Board indicted that, although college costs still increased more than general inflation in the past year, the increase in tuition and fees for the 2014-2015 academic year will be lower than the average annual increases in the past five years, the past 10 years, and the past 30 years across all sectors included in the study.1

Specific increases, as published in “Trends in College Pricing 2014,” are as follows:1 (more…)

How to score two absolutely, totally free years of college for your teen

free-collegeWere your high school years the best years of your life? Probably not. Though most teens experience great personal and academic growth during those years, high school is also fraught with social, emotional and educational landmines.

If your student isn’t thriving in a traditional high school environment, there are other options, and some of them will not only make your teen much happier but might also save you some serious money down the line. That’s what I discovered thanks to my oldest child, Julie.

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