It was great to network with fellow financial planners, and participate in the outstanding educational sessions on residential real estate, Medicare, investments and other areas.
College planning is always a hot topic with our clients, since many are saving for their children’s or grandchildren’s higher education needs. And rightfully so. A college education is expensive, but it is still an excellent investment in your child’s future. The average high school graduate earns $39,371 per year. But with a bachelor’s degree, that same student can lift average earnings to $73,163 per year. With a professional degree, average earnings bump up to $152,703 per year. That’s a significant increase in future earning power!
We understand that college is a major expense for families, with costs continuing to climb higher each and every year. That’s why we work with clients on strategies to tame the cost of college. Here are some of the top tips that Mari covered in her presentation:
Start planning for college as soon as possible. Families that plan ahead save twice as much for college. Recent research shows that children with savings dedicated for college education are four times more likely to attend college and more than twice as likely to graduate. Contrary to what many parents believe, putting money aside for college need not hurt you when it comes to financial aid. In fact, parents who plan ahead for college end up with less debt than those who wait until the last minute.
Save smart. Almost half of all families saving for college do so in ways that are likely to fail. Either they expose their savings to needless taxes, or they invest in ways that can’t get them the growth they need. That’s truly a shame, because there are so many wonderful, easy-to-implement college savings options available. Make sure you talk to your advisor about smart strategies that fit your budget but can still offer your student the lasting gift of higher education.
Take a look at the outstanding plans available to Florida residents. We are fortunate here in Florida to have access to the Florida Prepaid College Plan, the largest prepaid plan in the U.S. The Prepaid Plan allows parents to lock in the cost of college and take the uncertainty out of paying for higher education. For many of the families we work with, the Prepaid Plan forms the base of their college planning strategy. Want to cover additional costs? Layer on top a 529 college investment plan, offering tax advantages and growth potential. If you’re a Florida resident, take a fresh look at the Florida 529 Savings Plan. It’s been totally rebooted with new investment options and a 0.0% (yes, that’s really a 0.0%) administration fee. There are more 529 savings plans out there than there are states, so ask your advisor to help select the best one for you.