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 WAHM Wellness & Organization Center > How To Start A College Fund


How To Start A College Fund – Smart Tips To Get The Ball Rolling Whether You Have A Lot Or A Little Money To Invest.

Whether you work for yourself or have a regular 9-5 or a combination of the two, saving for college is probably on your mind. As the cost of a college education continues to rise and college loans, grants and financial aid become more competitive, it’s important to start saving as soon as possible. Here are a few tips to get you on the road to a starting a college fund.

Analyze your current budget. There’s a saying amongst financial experts that says, “You can borrow money for college but you can’t borrow money for retirement.” So assuming you have a good solid plan for retirement and are on track to meet those financial goals, the next step is to start saving for college and analyzing just how much you have to contribute each month. Take a look at your budget to see where you can cut back.

For example, can you reduce monthly phone bills, cable expenses, dining out and so on. These are usually easy ways to cut back.

Look into a 529 plan. Most financial experts will agree that a 529 is the best college savings tool around. A 529 plan allows you to save money for college without paying taxes on it. And depending on your state and the financial institution you’re working through, you can start saving with a smaller investment. There are two types of 529 plans: prepaid and savings.

With a prepaid plan you can purchase tuition credits at today’s rates and use them in the future when your child goes to college. The benefit, is that you’ll save money on tuition rates that will most certainly increase over the years – tuition seems to be increasing at a rate of about 8% a year. Over several years, a prepaid plan can save you thousands of dollars. Prepaid plans are either administered by your state or by the college itself.

A 529 savings plan is essentially a mutual fund devoted to college expenses. They must be administered by your state however the record keeping/planning portion of the process is usually administered by a financial services company.

One of the wonderful things about a 529 plan, besides the potential state income tax deductions is that if your child decides not to go to college or you don’t use the funds, you can turn around and roll them into your own retirement fund, savings account or reclaim them however you desire. The caveat is that you will likely have to pay income tax on the funds.

Other Ways To Start A College Fund

Stocks and bonds are always an option. If you’re comfortable with the risk, stocks can be a good way to invest for the future. Speak with a financial advisor about your risk levels and how much you want to save.

Savings account. A savings account typically doesn’t offer a high interest rate, however it is secure, there’s no risk. If you’re looking to start a 529 or buy a mutual fund and you don’t have enough to invest, start small. Open a checking account with $50 or $100 and build on it. Once you have enough to start that 529 or invest in a mutual fund, you can move the savings over to your chosen financial institution.

Regardless of how much money you have to start, if saving for college and starting a college fund is a priority, start now. Put that first, $5, $10, $50 or $100 in a savings account, create a plan to add to it weekly or monthly, even if you’re only adding a few dollars a week, and watch the savings grow.





 

 

 

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