Develop a Philosophy
How much you save may also be influenced by your values. “Do you want to pay 100 percent of the cost of any school?,” said David Ressner, a financial adviser in St. Louis, Mo. “An amount equal to the cost of their in-state flagship university? Or do you want your child to have skin in the game?”
Once you’ve thought that through, there are several practical ways to put together a savings plan. Mark Kantrowitz, a well-known expert on all-things college finance, advocates the following strategy:
- Save one-third of the costs of a four-year public college in your home state over your child’s first 18 years.
- Attempt to pay a third out of your income while they’re attending college.
- Finance the remainder (with federal loans).
Crunching the Numbers
The total cost of a four-year public college starting roughly 18 years from now will be about $183,837, according to calculations based on the College Board’s data. That assumes 2018-19 tuition, fees, room and board rise around 4 percent annually as they have for the past decade; they rose at a faster clip before that.
Naturally, the costs of a private school, or an out-of-state public school are far more. But keep in mind that most people do not pay the full sticker price — and you may qualify for more financial aid at a higher-cost private college than an in-state public one.
If you can’t afford to start with a formal plan (taking a percentage or set amount from every paycheck), you might simply begin by directing all found money — like birthday or holiday gifts — to seed a college savings account.
*Article from nytimes
Written by Tara Siegel Bernard