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College Savings Month - When & How to Start Saving for College

Sep 1, 2020, 09:26 AM

Coin being dropped into graduation cap

Did you know September is College Savings Month? While the school year certainly looks different this year, this is the time many parents start to think about saving for college or revisiting their college savings plan. While it’s never too late to start saving, the earlier the better.

In celebration of College Savings Month, here are 4 practical ways to save for college – no matter where you are in the process.

Start as early as possible. Many people ask “when is the best time to start saving for college?” The answer? As early as possible. Even if you don’t have kids yet, but you know you want to start a family someday, start saving if you are able. And if your kids are older, and you haven’t started saving yet, don’t get discouraged. Every bit helps and it’s never too late.

Set goals. As you look at the current cost of college, we know what you’re thinking – “I’ll never be able to save that much.” We have some good news: you don’t have to! College is just like any other big expense, such as a car loan or home mortgage, where this is typically paid for over time. Not to mention, paying for college expenses is typically a three-pronged approach where a third of college costs will come from savings, one third will come from current income and financial aid, and one third from student loans.

Using a college savings calculator can help you in setting goals.

Choose a monthly contribution that feels comfortable. The fact is, all of our plans will look different. While you want to make the most of your contribution, you also don’t want to stretch yourself too thin. Only contribute what you can, and what feels the most comfortable.

Automate your savings. College savings contributions can be automatically deducted from your account(s). Automating is a great way to ensure you stick with your savings plan since you can consider that amount ‘already spent.’

Need help planning or paying for college? We have a variety of resources you may find helpful, which includes our dedicated investment representative and our student loans in conjunction with Sallie Mae. Parents - you may also want to check out our Paying for College financial education module. And if you’re a student - we have some great information on how to best pay for college for you, too!  

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