Each new year brings forth the opportunity to set new goals in order to bring about meaningful change. But, the reality is that many of us will set outcome goals without establishing any concrete processes to help us arrive at our desired destination. Paying for college is a perfect example. Most parents want to help their children pay for college, but often put off any planning until the student’s junior or senior year. This may very well leave parents scrambling for a last minute, ‘magic bullet’ to significantly lower their higher than expected share of the cost – which likely won’t exist. The hard truth is that college is an expensive investment. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the projected cost of college over the next decade where the best schools in the country will have an annual sticker price above $100,000 – and that’s after taxes. This might seem ridiculous, but history has shown that as long as families continue to line up to pay the cost, colleges will continue to increase their sticker price.
With the rising cost of college and the ever-evolving financial aid process, families need to begin the college planning process earlier than they realize. Don’t wait until your child is a junior or senior to start planning. I recently worked with a local family whose oldest child was only a freshman. Even though their student is still three years away from enrolling in college, they already know how to best position themselves to save as much as possible. They are also aware of the different rules that apply to their unique situation at various schools across the nation. But, most importantly, these parents now know the impact that paying for college will have on their retirement so that they can stay on track. The sooner you get advice on saving and paying for college the greater your potential savings on the overall cost.
If you’re struggling to start or are overwhelmed by the college planning process, please reach out to your child’s guidance counselor. If you would like to know ahead of time where your student can get in, get aid and afford to go, please Contact Us to learn more about our Your Best Strategy consultative service.
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