Last week, I shared a very real and for some parents, and uncomfortable reality – it’s time to start saving up for college! There are so many options out there and unfortunately, we don’t always choose the best ones for our families despite our best intentions in College Planning.
Here are just 5 mistakes most parents make when planning for college:
- Waiting until the last minute
We’ve already discussed how it’s never too early to start planning for college, but one of the worst mistakes parents can make is waiting until the last minute. That college bill can come as quite a hefty surprise for most parents and without adequate planning, will force many into some stressful and uncomfortable lifestyle changes.
- Not setting a goal
While we may not know exactly how much college will cost for our children at this point, here’s a basic guideline:
Whether it’s setting up a plan to save the entire amount or a minimum percentage of the total cost, it’s important to set a goal to work toward and stick to the plan.
- Counting on scholarships or grants
I’ll be honest, I was a guilty of this before I came to terms with my kids’ actual athletic abilities. Haha. In all seriousness, it’s taking a huge gamble to count on scholarships or grants in lieu of saving for college or investing in a college savings plan. The great news is that with most plans, even if you’ve saved for college and your child becomes one of those fortunate enough to benefit from a free ride, the money you have saved can still be reallocated at that point. Beach house anyone?
- Using their retirement funds
This is one mistake I learned that many people actually make and unfortunately, don’t realize it until it’s too late. Without getting into the financial and tax implications of this choice, many parents who do this find themselves in too much of bind when it becomes time to actually retire.
- Not talking to a trusted advisor
I’ve partnered with COUNTRY Financial who is dedicated to helping parents navigate through the various college planning options and resources and getting them started on the right track. Before making any of these prior mentioned mistakes, the smartest thing to do is to talk to an advisor about your options and let them help you come up with a feasible plan.
Believe it or not, it does just take a few simple steps to get started. Visit www.countryfinancial.com/simplesteps for ongoing helpful tips and links to useful calculators to help you towards achieving your college saving goals.