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College Funds: When and how do I start saving?
When it comes to saving money for your child's college fund, you have options. Let's explore some.
Saving for your kid's college fund is an important financial goal for many parents. Higher education can be expensive, and having a plan in place can help ensure that your child has the financial resources they need to pursue their dreams without accruing a mountain of debt.
So, when and how should you save for your kid's college fund? Let's take a closer look.
When to start saving
Ideally, you should start saving for your kid's college fund as early as possible. The more time you have to save, the more money you can accumulate and the less you'll have to save each month to reach your goal. Even if your child is still in diapers, it's not too early to start thinking about their college education.
If you wait too long to start saving, you may find that you don't have enough money to cover the cost of college, or you may have to take on significant debt to do so. By starting early, you can avoid these pitfalls and give your child a head start on their financial future.
How to save
There are many ways to save for your kid's college fund. Here are a few of the most common:
- 529 savings plans: These plans allow you to invest money for your child's education and receive tax-free earnings on your investment. Withdrawals are also tax-free if they are used for qualified education expenses.
- Coverdell Education Savings Accounts: Similar to 529 plans, Coverdell ESAs allow you to invest money for your child's education and receive tax-free earnings. However, contributions are limited to $2,000 per year, and there are income limits to qualify.
- Roth IRA: Although Roth IRAs are primarily used for retirement savings, you can also use them to save for your child's college education. Contributions are made with after-tax dollars, but earnings grow tax-free and can be withdrawn penalty-free for qualified education expenses.
- Traditional savings accounts: While traditional savings accounts won't offer the same tax benefits as 529 plans or Coverdell ESAs, they are a safe and accessible way to save for your child's college fund. You can set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account to make saving easy and consistent with the help of automated savings apps like Plinqit!
How much to save
The amount you should save for your kid's college fund will depend on a variety of factors, such as the cost of tuition at the schools your child is interested in, how much you can afford to save, and how much financial aid your child may be eligible for.
As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to save at least enough to cover one-third of the total cost of college. This will help ensure that your child has some financial resources to fall back on, but it won't require you to save an unmanageable amount of money.
Saving for your kid's college fund is an important financial goal that can help set your child up for success in the future. By starting early, choosing the right savings vehicle, and saving consistently, you can ensure that you have the financial resources you need to cover the cost of college without relying on expensive loans or other forms of debt.
Raquel Hart is one of the Client Success Managers at Plinqit. Raquel believes that becoming financially educated, especially at a young age, is not just important but essential for financial success. She enjoys working with and creating content for her clients, strengthening her professional and personal relationships, and serving as a resource to those around her. In her free time, you can find her hanging out with her son, reading, or listening to music, or overindulging in the newest binge-worthy drama!