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College Funding Programs

Deciding how much money to save for your child's college education is generally a three-step process. The first step is estimating what the cost of college will be at the time your child is ready to attend. It's a good idea to start by comparing current costs at a variety of public and private colleges. Armed with this general information, you can determine what percentage of college costs you want to cover for your child, and how much you'll need to save to meet that goal.

Second, as your savings program gets under way, you should determine whether your child will qualify for financial aid. Though such predictions can be an inexact science due to changing financial circumstances, a dry run through the financial aid process can give you an idea of what your expected family contribution, or EFC, will be. Your EFC represents the amount of money you're required to pay for college costs each year before any financial aid is forthcoming. If your EFC exceeds the projected cost of college in a given year, your child will be ineligible for financial aid.

Third, once you decide how much money you can comfortably allocate to your savings program, you'll need to choose specific investments to meet your goals. The investments you choose will depend on several factors, including how much time you have until your child starts college, the tax benefits of particular investments, the financial aid consequences of particular investments, and your annual adjusted gross income, which may disqualify you from certain options.

Whether you are a recent college graduate who is just starting out in a career, a person who has been in the workforce for decades or someone currently enjoying retirement, it is important to assess the savings and investment opportunities that are available to you.

Whatever your current situation is, establishing short-term and long-term financial goals is a significant step toward meeting your future commitments and personal dreams. Reevaluating those goals as your circumstances change is equally important. As the levels of your responsibilities and family obligations change, so may your risk tolerance for investment.

Let us help. Our experienced financial services professionals can help you identify your short-term and long-term financial goals, determine whether or not your current savings and investments will enable you to meet your goals, and guide you in your savings and investment strategies.