If you have children at home of any age, please take a look at these thoughtful suggestions. (We’ve also listed at the bottom some ways we can help you plan for college).
We all know that higher education is expensive, but not having a college degree nowadays can cost your child even more. Having that credential can make a huge difference in your child’s lifetime earnings, employability and financial security. Education gives people more choices in life, and that is essentially what it’s all about.
Here’s several of Vanguard’s college pointers:
“A child with a college savings account is seven times more likely to pursue a higher education.”
Wow! Even after more than two decades of experience in the financial planning field, this statistic amazed me. What this suggests, parents and grandparents, is the best way to get your child to college is to give them the means to get there. And of course, a 529 plan is a great way to do that.
“Get your college degree. Children of college graduates are more likely to receive support in their educational experiences, including saving and planning for college.”
Parents, your kids look to you as an example and role model. If you value higher education and learning, they will too.
“Talk about college. Make higher education a part of your regular dinner conversations.”
Kids need to see higher education as part of their future from day one, a “given” or “expectation” as opposed to a “possibility.”
“Read to your children. Research shows that children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school.”
Of course. ‘Nuff said.
“Campus visits. If your child has a particular university or college in mind, take a tour of the school.”
If you can’t be there in person, most schools have virtual tours on-line, and many run local informational sessions for prospective students. By the way, a great way to get kids hooked on the whole college experience is to get them interested in college sports. Who wouldn’t want to go to the school where their favorite team plays?
“Volunteer. Investigate ways to give back to your community. Let your child learn the importance of serving others.”
This is also a great way to develop extracurricular interests and build community service hours.
“Encourage your child’s curiosity about the world. Encourage their interest in learning.”
Curiosity about the world, and the desire to keep growing and learning, will serve them well in school and in their chosen career.
How we can help: Let us know if you need help estimating college costs, sorting through all the college savings options (529 plans, custodial accounts, etc) and setting up the right accounts. No need for you to become a college planning expert; we can save you time and help you avoid mistakes. Grandparents, one of the most meaningful gifts you can give your grandkids is a head start with college. Many college plans have great tax and gift advantages, can remain under your control and guidance until deployed, and offer enormous flexibility as to when, where and how they’re used.
To see all ten college pointers, take a look at the Vanguard January 2013 newsletter for the Utah college 529 plan, which is managed by Vanguard.