As I write this post, my children are only 8 and 5 years old. We’re not even close to the end of elementary school and junior high and high school are a very distant thought. How, then, can we imagine that it’s time to start saving up for college? Or better yet, that we probably should have even started years ago?
How soon is too soon to start saving for college?
The answer in short: Never. As hard as it is to imagine, our little bundles of joy, aka “tiny feet” will be heading off to college before we know it and the very best thing we can do for them (and for ourselves) is to be prepared.
Why start college planning early?
Now, I still have a few college loans I’m paying off nearly 20 years later and considering the ever rising costs of a college education, I can’t imagine what it will cost by the time they get there. To put this in perspective, my younger sister both attended UVA exactly 16 years apart. My tuition as an out of state student back then was less than her in-state tuition today! And it’s not getting any cheaper.
The approximate annual tuition for a four-year public college is around $18,000 while you’re looking at upwards of $40,000 for a private institution. The estimated incremental increase is around 3.2% annually, which means that this number is likely to be even more astronomical by the time our kids get there. Imagine how much more prepared we’d all be if we started planning for college from day 1? So many parents get stuck having waited too late to start saving for college and end up being forced to sacrifice some comforts such as vacations, daily spending, etc or even making some huge mistakes such as tapping into their retirement.
How to start planning for college?
It’s such an overwhelming thought to begin any sort of college savings plan because there are so many different options out there. Even if you’re fairly savvy with your finances, there are still a lot of factors to consider. Fortunately, there are lots of resources available for parents to help you get started planning for college. COUNTRY Financial has local representatives that you can easily contact to help you learn about these resources and find the best options for your family. To get started, just visit www.countryfinancial.com/simplesteps and get a head start on saving for your child’s future!
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by COUNTRY Financial. As always, all opinions are mine alone.