Saving for college may need to happen as early as possible.

Saving for college may need to happen as early as possible.

Planning for a child’s education can be difficult, especially when a family’s financial strategy is quite focused as is. However, this can be a very important way of ensuring that there will be some funds that a child can use when they finally head off to higher education after high school.

More than four-fifths of individuals noted that families should look at getting college savings in gear when a child is born, according to a report from the National Financial Educators Council. Another 6 percent said that it may be best to do this when the child begins going to elementary school.

The further the child gets in school, the less likely adults were to say that starting saving for college would be a good idea. Just 1 percent said that it is a good idea to wait to save for college when their child hits middle school. The same percentage explained that high school was the best time, while another 4 percent felt that parents should not be in charge of any college education funds.

Talking about college expenses important
Finding a financial method to afford college education can be difficult, but there may be value in discussing these actions as a family.

However, more than 40 percent of families with children headed toward college have not had conversations related to paying for college, according to a report from Fidelity Investments. More than three-quarters of parents are not happy with the thought of their children having student loans when they graduate school. However, close to the same amount felt that this will end up happening.

“Saving and planning for college should be a family affair,” said Keith Bernhardt, vice president of college planning at Fidelity Investments. “With the cost of college continuing to rise, the earlier families discuss goals, the more time they will have to adjust savings strategies and consider the financial impact of their college-related choices. Teenagers should begin to understand how their college-related choices may affect their own financial future, including the potential student loan debt they may face. These conversations will help college-bound students become more accountable and better prepare them to make their own future financial decisions.”

Nearly 45 percent of parents looked into the prospect of scholarships to help pay for college, the report added. Approximately 30 percent noted that they will be sending their kids to a school that is more affordable.

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