In part 1 of this article, I explored how you can estimate how much college will cost and how much you need to save, going forward, to accumulate enough savings to cover the amount that you plan to contribute towards your child’s college costs. One of the major variables in this calculation is what you assume about how you will invest the money that you save. While you can design a portfolio yourself, it is also worth looking at funds that combine the major asset classes into portfolios at various risk levels. Continue reading
As we enter autumn, the leaves start to change and students arrive at college campuses across the country. For parents, as well as for students, the start of the academic year raises the specter of some of the largest costs that a family incurs. Hopefully, families have started to prepare for college costs far ahead of the years of attendance, but the sheer size of the expenses may be pretty daunting even for those who have saved since their children are very young. Continue reading
I am now at an age at which many of my friends have kids preparing for, or going to, college. I have a few more years to figure out the details, but this is an issue that I have followed for a long time. My local in-state university, the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU), estimates the all-in cost of attendance at $26,000 per year. This varies a bit, based on which program you choose. Tuition, fees, and books cost about $14,000 per year (though this varies by program) and the estimated cost of room and board is about $12,000 per year. Continue reading
Guest post by Contributing Editor, Matthew Amster-Burton, Mint.com.
Anyone who has read my previous columns about paying for college knows that I’m a student debt hawk. Student loans in their current form are dangerous: it’s too easy to borrow massive quantities; they can almost never be discharged in bankruptcy; and students and parents rarely understand what kind of quicksand they’re getting into.
At the same time, a “buy now, pay later” system makes sense. We have all sorts of public subsidies for college tuition, including the federal student loan program, because having an educated population benefits everyone. Continue reading
If your New Year’s resolutions include saving more for a loved one’s future education, your mind may have turned to 529 plans.
Though the performance of these plans improved last year, according to a recent Wall Street Journal story, there are many such plans, and they vary widely in quality. They particularly vary in terms of the investment options they offer once you’ve put your money into the plan.
“Saving for college is a major financial planning item. Local governments have set up tax exempt saving plans for College which is a great idea. Somehow, what we have ended up with is a confusing mess. The problems come when you look into the details of the plans,” says Simon Napper, president of MyPlanIQ, a firm that analyzes investing options in corporate 401(k) plans as well.
As illustration, Napper put together an analysis of how well investors would have done in the following state plans if they had allocated their investments in a diversified manner. Continue reading