Thinking in the Future Tense: How to Make Long Term Financial Plans Now that you have a Newborn

As a parent to young children you’ll find yourself thinking ahead to them growing up and reaching different milestones: taking their first steps, the first day of school, and going to high school. As your child enters high-school your pleasant daydreams will begin to downshift to a feeling of uneasiness and anxiety as the expensive reality of exponentially rising tuition costs begins to sink in.

The reality is that if you have an infant or a toddler the best chance you have to be able to pay for their tuition after they leave high-school will be if you start saving now.   By the time your toddler graduates from highschool many of your investments in the old ‘college fund’ will have matured to the point where they will either make a huge dent in your child’s college loans, or cover the nut.  Unfortunately there is a perfect storm brewing: in a time of unemployment, marginal employment and economic turmoil, people are seeing their savings wiped out or severely reduced.  Meanwhile tuition costs continue to rise.

College debt has surpassed passed credit card debt as the largest debt-load that individuals are saddled with, and research has shows that $300 billion dollars of debt have been incurred in just the last four years.  Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and FastWeb.com, has calculated the current student debt in the United States to be $829.785 billion and the debt of revolving credit to be approximately $826 billion. As the unemployment numbers continue to rise these numbers will increase too. But don’t stress too much about paying for your child’s education. More students are finding alternate ways to raise money for school and still work towards a degree.

The number of students pursuing online degrees has been increasing steadily, partly because of the increased flexibility that comes with the ability to take classes whenever students want to. With that flexibility, they can work full-time jobs and still go to school. With online classes, students know when assignments are due just like in a traditional class. Online students are also able to avoid paying room and board, parking fees and fees associated with commuting back and forth to class.

Because taking courses online is on option, more students are taking a couple of classes per semester and extending the length of the average college career. Students can opt to only take the courses that they can afford to pay for at the moment and avoid debt. They would be working at the time, so rushing through college is not important. Some jobs offer tuition reimbursement which would help as well.

Any money that you can provide your child to assist with paying for college is helpful. While the numbers can look intimidating there are ways to raise the money needed. Here are a few ideas/tips to help you begin saving for your child’s education early.

  • Set aside at least $100 a month: If you have an infant and you can set aside $100 a month, by the time the child is ready for college you’ll have a substantial amount to contribute.
  • Get children involved in extracurricular activities: Students can earn for college many different ways. Whether they’re playing sports, playing an instrument or being an artist, encourage them to give it their all.
  • Look at scholarships: Encourage your child to explore different scholarship and grant opportunities. Students can earn money for a number of different reasons and this money is not required to be paid back

The current economic downturn has many people feeling uneasy about their financial future and the future of their children. The thing to remember is that this won’t last forever. Things will eventually come back around.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta