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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Student Loan Debt: A Lingering Burden for Aging Americans

grad-cap-moneyThe number of Americans in or nearing retirement who are still holding significant debt from student loans has been rising in recent years.

When the growing problem of student loan debt is discussed in media reports, most of us assume the borrowers in question are young people in their 20s and 30s. But new government research has revealed that the number of Americans aged 60 and older who are still saddled with unpaid student loans has risen precipitously in recent years. (more…)

Money for College

When it comes to college, you’re more than what you pay

Are you sacrificing your financial security for your child’s higher education?

Here in California, we joking refer to Harvard as “the Stanford of the east.” That gentle jab reflects the rivalry between two schools renowned for their stunning campuses, prominent faculty, prestige and sky-high costs. Four years of tuition at either school will set a family back more than $200,000.

That’s a staggering amount of money, but we assume that it’s “worth it” because of the advantage a degree from a top-notch school confers on our kids, who need all the help they can get in a job market that’s been in the doldrums for years. (more…)