I have two children, a 2 year-old and 3 month-old, so why am I already thinking about college you may ask. After all, I’m still 16 years away from my daughter stepping through the doors of higher education. I’ll tell you why.
A highly competitive and educated workforce.
Colorado is one of the most competitive and educated workforces in the United States. Meaning if you are going to be marketable, you will need a degree. That statement is true today and will ring more true in the years to come.
The real reason I am starting to save, is just like all parents, I want my children to have it better than I did. I want my children to be more successful than I am, and I want them to do it with little loan assistance, if any.
I don’t want my children to graduate with debt.
As a young child my parents always told my brothers and me, “If you want to go to college, no matter what, we will find a way to pay for it.” Like most families we paid for it through blood, sweat, tears, and LOANS!
This is the same philosophy I have for my children; however, I want to do everything possible so my children do not graduate with debt. So prior to my children being born I opened up a 529 investment plan through CollegeInvest. (No, I am not an expert on 529 plans or a CollegeInvest employee , but I do know that this was and is the best option for my family.) I currently pay $50 monthly into two accounts (one for each child) and have been doing so for a few years now. Similar to a 401k, I can select my investment options.
529 plans are tax-deductible.
My favorite part about 529 plans is they are tax-deductible on your state income taxes. Plus, multiple people can pay into it. For example, no matter how old a child is, some people just like to give a card and money. My wife and I have asked those individuals to donate to our 529 plans. It’s a great gift and the money isn’t blown on candy.
How did I get started?
Even though I work in higher education, I too needed a realization (a slap in the face) that the cost of tuition may be (please feel free to replace the word ‘may’ with ‘will’) unreasonable and out of reach by the time my children are ready to go to college. Even before my first child was born I attended an informational session on financial aid. There I learned of multiple avenues for paying for college, and met with a representative of CollegeInvest.
What if my children don’t want to go to college?
Besides the cost of tuition, this is one of my concerns. My initial thought is, “Tough, you’re going.” However, I want my children to make the decision to attend college on their own and I will support them in all their endeavors.
Currently at home, I am fostering an atmosphere highlighting the importance of education, and I hope that this will motivate them to pursue higher education.
What other ideas do you have to save for college?