Back to School Means Preparing for College

By: Robert DeVries 

Hard to believe, but summer is almost over and children are back in school already. If you are like me, you can hardly believe how quickly your children have grown. It’s easy to lose track of time when you are busy scurrying between soccer games and practices, dance recitals and rehearsals, birthday party drop-offs and slumber party pick-ups. Oh, and you might have to go to work as well besides being a full time taxi driver!

With a busy family schedule, planning for college can be left wanting for attention. That’s why back to school can be a great reminder to review where you are. Let your children’s educational milestones serve as a reminder to review your progress.

Each new phase in your children’s education provides a great time to review your financial goals

Entering First Grade

Saving for College

It is estimated that when your precious little first grader enters college in 2026, the estimated public out-of-state tuition cost will be over $43,000! With tuition, fees, room and board, the cost is estimated at $317,000 for four years! A daunting number, but with the beauty of compounding and diligent saving, you can save a considerable sum to help pay for college. The number needed to be put away can be calculated here.

Purchasing Term Life Insurance

Are you properly insured to replace your income and pay for college should something happen to you? Look into purchasing term life insurance or review your current coverage with your financial advisor.

Entering Middle School

Update your savings for college plan (see above). Explore what kind of financial aid your child might receive using the FAFSA4caster.

This information can help you plan ahead.

Entering High School

It’s all about meeting with guidance counselors, financial aid and scholarships! Begin by attending your financial aid night at your student’s high school. Get an overview of financial aid here.

Entering College

Your work is done, right? Years of diligent saving have provided the funds for college and they are now off on ‘their own.’ But even the best prepared young adults will need help from time to time. Consider these actions prior to your child leaving for college:

  • Open a joint account in your student’s new town, or set up an online banking link to be able to transfer money into your student’s account easily.
  • Discuss a savings plan and budget with your student. Use a pre-paid debit card or low limit credit card to help them stay within the budget.
  • Talk with your child about their credit score and request a free credit report.
  • Review and understand your 529 or pre-paid tuition plan’s disbursements rules.

For a full action plan for students and parents at all levels of education, see College Prep Checklist from Federal Student Aid.

Planning for college is an important component of a comprehensive financial plan.  If you would like to understand how paying for college can impact your financial picture contact one of our WealthCoachesCall our wealth services firm in Satellite Beach, FL – Melbourne/Brevard area at (321) 773-7773 to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.

You should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this publication serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from FirstWave Financial. A copy of the FirstWave’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.