Raising children brings with it many exciting milestones. Paying for college isn’t one of them. If you are worried about paying for your children’s college, here is a guide to help you get started:
Step 1: Consider opening a college savings account. There are currently two main types, a Coverdell Education Savings Account and a 529. A 529 is by far the most popular choice. Your money grows in a tax-advantaged account, and you can take funds out of these accounts to pay for qualified educational expenses without incurring taxes! These accounts can be opened by anyone, regardless of how much money you make. They are available in all 50 states, but check with your own state first to see if there are any special benefits to opening up your own state’s plan. A Coverdell, or ESA, is also a tax-advantaged account, but you are limited to $2000 per year per child. Most ESAs are used to pay for pre-college expenses such as a private school education.
Step 2: Start saving. No matter how small an amount you save, putting money away monthly is important as it will increase in size over time. Start no matter what their age, even if you delayed at first.
Step 3: Don’t skimp on your retirement savings. Your children can always get help through loans or scholarships if you are unable to save enough for their education, but you are responsible for your retirement.