When Should You Begin Starting a Child’s College Fund

College is one of the most expensive costs families face with tuition rising every year, and parents often have to carefully weigh the pros and cons of when and where to send their children to college. Not to mention student loans can tie up your child’s finances for years if you’re not careful, so investing while they are very young or even before they are born could help minimize or eliminate debt for them. The tricky part is how you should go about planning for this expense. The following ideas may be things to consider for saving.

Starting A 529 Savings Plan

A little like a 401(k), IRA or health savings account, a 529 is an investment plan that some states offer as a way to grow money for college expenses tax-free. Since it’s only recognized at the state level and not the federal, different states will have different regulations on how you can use your 529 and on what kind of withdrawals you can make. But in theory, the earlier you start with your 529 contributions, the less you’ll have to make over the long run, and while only one person can manage a 529 fund, anyone including your child beneficiary can contribute to it.

Starting A Side Hustle And Contributing To Another Investment Account

There are many reasons for the starting side Hustle. You may be focused on building up your emergency savings account, or simply working to pay off previous debts from credit cards or installment loans online. But you also might take up a few jobs such as part-time landscaping, being a ride-sharing or delivery driver, running an online drop-ship business, or taking up network marketing to build little savings. To grow your savings, you should put them in a brokerage account where they can earn more than just bank savings or CD accounts. You’ll want to work with a reputable advisor to make sure you set up your brokerage account the right way for withdrawing at the right time and without penalty.

Look For Scholarship And Tuition Reimbursement Opportunities

The scholarship opportunities out there are quite numerous from the ones that universities post on their front pages to others that non-profit groups have out there. It’s true that some scholarships can have long and arduous application requirements whether it’s writing essays, completing certain programs, or winning contests. But there really are no reasons why you and your child shouldn’t be looking for and applying for different ones, or look at programs like ROTC, the Army Reserve Corps, or another volunteer organization. Some companies even have some tuition reimbursement programs as part of employee benefits packages; something your child may need to consider if taking a job during high school.

Start An Online Fundraiser

Just as some businesses will start crowdfunding web pages, it’s also possible to start something similar for your own child. It’s unlikely you’re going to raise the full amount of your child’s tuition bill online through this method, but if you encourage various small donations, you may be able to raise more than you think. You also want to get a little creative and provide some incentive for your donors, but make sure you are being honest about where your proceeds are going.

The bottom line is raising money for college is not something you should wait on because as expenses keep rising, you might end up waiting too long and realize you could have done more to lock in affordable tuition rates earlier. But if both you and your child are committed and determined to pay for school debt-free, the possibilities certainly are there.

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