Other than buying a house, post-secondary education — college, in popular parlance — is the single biggest expense you’ll shoulder in your lifetime.
We’re not talking about financing your own education. That ship has sailed. Looking ahead, your concern is your kids’ college education, an expense that’s virtually certain to exceed whatever you or your parents paid to put you through school.
The time to get serious about saving and investing for college is now, not tomorrow. And one great place to start (though by no means the only reputable resource for parents of college-bound kids) is SavingForCollege.com, a top independent authority on 529 education savings plans.
Let’s explore the benefits of beginning your college savings journey at SavingForCollege.com and learn how to sort the best savings resources from the rest.
What Is SavingForCollege.com?
SavingForCollege.com is an independent, nonpartisan resource for parents and students looking ahead to potentially costly college tuition bills. Its resources include:
- Popular articles and how-to guides on saving for college and college savings instruments, including 529 education savings plans
- State-specific resources for parents and students looking to save
- Information about the possible tax advantages of using a 529 college savings plan
- Information about FDIC-insured savings vehicles, which offer added protection during periods of economic volatility
- Rankings of select college savings plans
Finding the Best Among the Rest
SavingForCollege.com makes it easy to find the best college savings resources from “the rest.” Its impartial evaluation metrics surface top performers like College Savings Bank, a division of Dallas-based NexBank ranked number one for yield on 3-year certificates of deposits and number two for savings yields.
Why FDIC Insurance Matters
College Savings Bank’s FDIC-insured college savings accounts aren’t uncommon. According to an analysis from SavingForCollege.com, about 30 529 plans offer FDIC-insured college savings products.
Why does that matter? FDIC insurance, which under present federal law covers the first $250,000 in accountholder deposits at FDIC-insured institutions, offers protection against economic volatility. During the Great Recession, hundreds of community banks failed; without the FDIC’s backstop, billions of dollars in deposits would have vanished in those failures. No comparable protection exists for stock market investors.
Making the Most of Your College Savings Plan
Using SavingForCollege.com as your guide, what else should you do to make the most of your college savings plan and maximize your chances of building a viable college fund for your loved one? Consider:
- Max out your tax-deductible contributions each year
- Set up an automatic savings plan
- Ask extended family to pitch in (in lieu of birthday and holiday cash)
- Diversify your college savings plan investments.
It’s Never Too Early to Begin
Your kid is still in diapers, getting into every nook and cranny of the house. You’ve got another on the way, too. You’ve got more important things to worry about than saving for college.
Eh, maybe. Not if you want to feel financially secure when your presently diaper-clad kid applies early decision to that ridiculously expensive private school you were sure they wouldn’t hear about.
Sure, you’ll be older and grayer by the time that happens. But your bank account won’t care. It’s never, ever too early to begin preparing for that first eye-popping tuition payment — and making good on your obligation not to saddle your kids with inordinate student loan debt, if you can help it.