One of the biggest and most important investments that a parent can make in the future of their child is to help them go to college. The best way to help them is to start a college fund savings program now so they won’t be financially burdened in the future. Good grades, a happy home and moral support from loving parents, family and friends are all key ingredients in raising a child who is forward-thinking enough to want to plan for college, but financial issues can stop even a straight-A student from ever getting a college degree.
You will sometimes hear from other well-meaning parents that if you didn’t start planning for Junior’s college education at the very moment of conception, it’s too late to get started now. The truth is, it is never too late to start saving for college. You might not be able to afford an Ivy League school, but you will be able to help your child get started.
Even if your child is already in grade school, middle school or high school, you can start putting money away for college. Don’t rely on scholarships, financial aid or grants to pay for your child’s education. Speak with your New Bedford credit union for tips on boosting your savings and different ways that you can start setting money aside to pay for college. Here are 10 tips that can help parents start saving for college that will help them maximize their investing abilities.
#1 – Start As Soon As You Can
The more you put off saving for college, the longer it will take to accumulate enough cash to send your child to school. So you didn’t get started when your child was an infant – the point is to start saving right now and put money away whenever you can. Start building a habit of saving and pay money into your credit union savings account or money market investment as you would a bill – every single paycheck or on a set date each month.
#2 – Increase As You Are Able
No matter how small your savings is when you get started, you can always build it as time goes by. You might not only be able to afford to put $50-100 away each month right now, but in the future you could double or triple that monthly investment as you are able. Remember that the compounding interest from your credit union savings account will help your savings grow even faster. So get your money into a savings program at your credit union today.
#3 – Save on a Regular Basis
Get in the habit of putting money into your college savings fund once a week or once a month. While it can help to put extra funds in there whenever you get unexpected money, your biggest contribution will be from regular payments into your credit union savings account each month. Schedule deposits based on your pay schedule or date that your other bills are due so you won’t be likely to forget.
#4 – Consider Automatic Deposits
Speak with your New Bedford credit union representative about making automatic deposits from your Share Checking or Share Savings accounts into the separate credit union savings account that you have set up for your child’s college savings fund. You can also make automatic deductions from your paycheck through your employer if this option is available. If the money never touches your checking account where it can get easily spent, the more likely you will be to save it.
#5 – Create a Special Account
One of the best ways to keep your college savings fund off limits is to set up a separate special account at your New Bedford credit union. Speak with your representative about Share savings accounts and other investment accounts that will help you earn added interest and boost your savings ability beyond your personal credit union savings account. Make sure to put the account in your name – not your child’s name – to prevent unwanted access when the child gets older.
#6 – Set Savings Goals
According to a recent national study, the average cost for a person to attend an in-state public college was $22,261 for the 2012-2013 academic year. The cost was $43,289 on average for a moderate private college during the same time period. While community colleges and in-state programs can be even more affordable for residents, it is important to remember that these costs will continue to rise between now and the time when your child is ready to go to college. Your college savings fund should reflect the type of school your child will need to go to in order to get the degree they desire and your savings goals must be adjusted accordingly.
#7 – Ask for Help
Did you know that there are lots of ways that your relatives can help boost your child’s college savings fund? When relatives aren’t sure what to get your child for a birthday or holiday gift, suggest that they contribute to your credit union savings account that is earmarked for your child’s education. Savings investments pay off much higher than savings bonds or other typical financial gifts. One survey asked grandparents how likely they would be to contribute to a college savings fund if asked and over 60 percent stated that they would. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your family members will probably be happy to provide financial support for your child’s future.
Get Started Saving for College Today!
Contact your New Bedford credit union representative to get started building your child’s college savings fund today. Ask about our basic Share savings account for members as well as other investments and credit union savings account opportunities that have higher interest payments and additional options that can help boost your savings. Call St Anne Credit Union in New Bedford today to get started saving for your child’s education!