Saving for college

Recently, a friend asked me when she should start saving for her child’s College Education.  My answer was: as soon as possible.  The biggest factors in your control are time and the power of compounding. 

Too many times I speak with parents who wish they started saving earlier for College.  I could delve into 529 Prepaid Plans v 529 Savings Plans, state tax deductions for some 529 Plans, fund fees and performance, and much more.  But this is more of a behavioral issue. 

Many barriers can stop people from investing such as procrastination, fear of failure, lack of knowledge, and even saying things to themselves like “we have a lot of time before he or she goes to college”. 

I have adapted to working with many types of clients.  Some clients want to fly and take quick action on their own, while others would prefer to be coached through each step. I like to ease clients into the concept of investing by breaking the process down into easy, actionable steps. 

Typically, we start by identifying the client’s goals.  Once I help a client clearly define their goals and purpose for doing so, we can work together to break through any barriers that may be holding them back. 

One client I worked with recently was surprised at how easy it was to open a 529 Savings Plan, fund it, and start making monthly contributions.  Her lack of knowledge cost her 3 years’ worth of savings.  Working together, we formulated a plan that now has her back on track.

In order to get an idea of how much money is at stake here, I would like to provide an example of an individual who had a goal of saving $150,000 by the time his daughter went to college.  Had he started saving when his daughter was born, he would have needed to save about $400/month to reach his goal.  Had he started saving when she was 10, he would have needed to save almost $1,150/month to reach his goal. 

The only problem was that his daughter was 15 years old.  I told him that he would have to start saving about $3,500/month in order to reach his goal.  His reply was “I wish I would have started saving sooner”.  Please visit my website at www.prudentfinancialplan.com and schedule your Free Consultation.  Let us help you get started.

Sarah Norris