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It’s Back-To-School – But For Whom?

It's Back-To-School - But For Whom? By Chris Stack and Kevin Wasp, Columbia Threadneedle Investments

  • Back-to-school time should not only be about preparing for the kids’ current school year but also for their college years and beyond.
  • Gen X-ers and older alums are often shocked when they become aware how much college costs have risen since they were on campus.
  • Tax-advantaged investment plans can help families address these significant costs by starting now and avoiding stress of paying later.

It’s that time of year again!

Retailers have been ramping up their back-to-school campaigns, touting the latest in back-to-school supplies and fashions. The benefits of a good education are widely acknowledged, and these retailers know that parents and grandparents will do all they can to help prepare their young family members for the new school year. That often includes enthusiastic spending on backpacks, calculators, clothes, three-ring binders and the like.

However, that is just part of the process. Many parents of current high school juniors and seniors find themselves not affording, and regretting not preparing for, the cost of college. While such opportunity for them may be lost, parents of younger children do have the ability to plan and prepare, an opportunity they can’t afford to waste.

Thus, now may be a good time to school oneself in how to minimize the stress later of paying for college. A good place to start is by focusing on the younger children and their future college expenses.

Paying for college has become more challenging

Figuring out how to pay for college is much more difficult and confusing than it was in the past. In the time since parents of college-bound children attended college, costs have risen dramatically.

Public universities typically estimate the cost to exceed $100,000 for four years while it is not uncommon for private colleges to estimate the cost for four years...