College Savings Planning Tips
Planning for the expense of college presents many challenges – some obvious, others not so much. The amount is typically unknown until shortly before attendance will begin (and in some cases, can change dramatically while a student is in college).
Some variables that will impact college expense include:
- Did the student receive any scholarships?
- Does the student qualify for any needs-based financial aid?
- How long will it take the student to complete their specific course of study?
The desire to fund a child or family member’s college education is an important goal for many families, however in some cases those goals might conflict with retirement goals. At Copper Leaf Financial we help our clients adjust their retirement goals to help them fulfill their desire to help with a loved one’s education.
We engage clients in a deeper conversation to identify more concrete planning objectives to refine their goals. Some important questions we consider include:
- Is your goal to cover ‘just’ the cost of a bachelor's degree, or do you want to cover the cost of a graduate program as well?
- Do you want to cover the cost of a public college or university ‘only’, or do you want to plan for the potential higher costs of attending a private college or university?
- Do you want to cover X dollars for Y years? Or do you want to save X dollars per year and whatever that covers, and anything more will be the student’s responsibility?
Once concrete objectives are identified and potential costs are estimated and agreed upon (for planning purposes), the next step is to help you develop a tax- and cost-efficient plan for meeting those education funding goals. This is important because there is a myriad of funding choices, and it can feel overwhelming.
We use this decision tree to help guide you and navigate the choices so that you can identify which funding option is the most appropriate for your situation. Call us today at 802.878.2731 or click here to schedule a strategy session.
For information about 529 Savings plans click here.
See also: Gift the Gift of Education with a 529 Plan.