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. (more…)

Prepping for the College Savings Test

If you’re saving for a child or grandchild’s college education, brace yourself. The annual cost at the typical private university now exceeds $38,000, and the annual cost at the typical public college is greater than $17,000.1 Multiply those figures by four, and you might wonder if it’s worth it to send Junior to college. In most cases, the answer is yes. Fortunately, there are ways to make your college savings work harder for you. (more…)

Coverdell Education Savings Account – What is it Good For?

To avoid allowing the country to fall off the fiscal cliff, Congress and the President have agreed upon and signed into law the 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA). Among other things, the new law restores nearly all of the tax incentives for education which had been scheduled to expire at the end of the year. One of these education incentives was the Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). (more…)

When College Costs Don’t Go According to Plan

You’ve spent years dutifully contributing to a college savings account for your children or grandchildren. Soon it will at last be time to switch from saving to spending.

You’ve done your best to fully fund the cost of four years of college. But there are so many variables and even more that will continue to affect your estimates. These unknowns include scholarships, whether you’re paying in-state or out-of-state tuition, the return rate of your investments and whether your teen will need more than four years to complete her degree. (more…)

What If College Isn’t In the Cards for Your Teen?

When you were the parent of a newborn, you might have had a moment or two of clarity amid the haze of exhaustion and sleep deprivation. And in those moments, you might have opened a tax-free college fund for the tiny person sleeping nearby.

Fast-forward 18 years—through board books, potty training, the first day of school, summer vacations, soccer games, birthday parties and middle school—and suddenly that tiny person is a high school senior. Meanwhile, you’ve been dutifully adding to the 529 plan to cover the expense of four years of college. The earnings through this plan are tax-free, and so are the withdrawals for qualified education expenses, making this a popular vehicle for covering college costs. (more…)