These days the huge, and growing, costs of tuition, fees and room and board have turned paying for college into a family affair. Impressing upon your kids the importance of a college education, and the character-building exercise of pitching in with other family members to fund it, can be a good lesson in family and personal values. It’s also part of a trend in recent years toward helping even the little ones become financially responsible – it’s a good habit they will later thank you for helping them cultivate.
According to collegeboard.com, average annual college costs in 2006-07 were $22, 218 for a four-year private school (up 5.9 percent from last year), $5,836 for a four-year public school (up 6.3 percent from last year), and $2,272 for a two-year public school (up 4.1 percent from last year).
Lots of Options, Loans If You Must
The good news is there are many ways to deal with the college funding issue at any stage of the game. You can take advantage of ways to reduce your income tax bill with education credits like the Hope credit and lifetime learning credit. Parents may consider the popular 529 college savings plans and grandparents in a position to contribute to your child’s college fund may qualify for state income-tax deductions and gift and estate tax benefits by using certain instruments. (Be sure to look into the new 2008 “kiddie tax” law, which closes a loophole that effectively encouraged parents to transfer assets to their kids in order to save on taxes.)
Debt is the least attractive option, but sometimes unavoidable. There are needs-based resources like the Federal Perkins Loan Program. There are subsidized, federally-guaranteed Stafford loans (www.fafsa.ed.gov) and unsubsidized federally-guaranteed loans (Parent Plus and a version of the Stafford), neither of which is needs-based. Private loans may also be available from banks or finance companies. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (http://www.nslds.ed.gov/) is the central database for information on financial aid resources.
Getting a Head Start with Stocks and Real Estate Might Make a Big Difference
A great idea for anyone in the family who can get a head start on saving for college – one that is particularly suitable for involving your child – is some type of automatic investment plan (AIP) that transfers money directly from a checking or savings account into a mutual fund chosen based on the time frame you’re working under. An AIP is a convenient way to take advantage of dollar cost averaging, which means you’ll buy more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high – one of the keys to successful long-term investing.
Getting teens and young adults involved in real estate investing to help solve the college funding dilemma is something that few parents might think of. But Club Palooza has – and the sponsors have put together an engaging, hands-on type of real estate investor educational experience designed to appeal to adults and their young relatives alike. And young attendees get a stellar return on investment – the Club Palooza lessons in financial literacy are free when they are accompanied by a registered parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent.
Club Palooza is an engaging, hands-on type of real estate investor educational experience designed to appeal to adults and their young relatives alike. And young attendees get a stellar return on investment – the Club Palooza lessons in financial literacy are free when they are accompanied by a registered parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent.
Club Palooza Is a Lifelong Gift
Club Palooza is part of Investor Palooza, the premier annual conference for the nation’s most successful real estate investors (www.investorpalooza.com). This year Investor Palooza takes place on January 18–20, 2008 at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. Among the 12 sought-after speakers on the panel and instructor for Club Palooza is Ken Edmonds, a real estate investor who has been teaching financial literacy to children and college students since 1975. Ken is pleased to have made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of young people over the past 30 years. He is an advocate of helping our youth learn how to successfully manage their financial lives so they can be free of money pressures and spend time on other productive endeavors. As one of Ken’s students put it: “Mr. Edmonds taught us how not to lose sleep over money but to make money while we sleep.”