Top ideas to ensure the best education for your child

 

There are many ways for a person to make a living in the United States, with any level of education or skill. But statistics do show that a person with a four year college degree (a Bachelor’s degree) will earn, on average, nearly $22,000 a year more than a person with only a high school diploma (Farnen, n.d.).

Over a lifetime this can come out to more than a 1.1 million dollar difference! Of course, earning a college degree is challenging and expensive.

Tuition and fees can easily exceed $8,000 at a public college (Farnen, n.d.), not even including room, board and transportation. The costs are much higher at private schools and universities, or if a person seeks a degree beyond a four year Bachelor’s degree. But fear not, there are ways that you can help your child prepare financially for college, including the following tips: 

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1. Save up for their education. 

A great way to help your child prepare for school is to save in advance. First, remember that financial advisor Suze Orman advises that you first guarantee your own financial security, including retirement savings. Once you are confident in that, then you can start saving for your child’s college. Start with a 529 college savings plan. These allow you to grow money in investments tax free or simply purchase tuition at today’s rates. TIP: Every state has a plan and you are not limited to only the plan in your state, so shop around. 

2. Have sufficient funds for their living and education.

College is challenging, much more so than high school. While some students are able to hold down a job and make money while in school, academic life is much easier for students who do not have to work, or at least do not have to work very much. Having a bit of money to help your child with school expenses but also living expenses can help them to be more successful. 

Remember that a 529 plan has limits on what you can spend it on without incurring tax penalties, so be sure to understand your plan. Encouraging your child, from a young age, to save their own money towards college is great. You might also want to consider selling investments, such as CDs, stocks, or if you have one you may want to sell structured settlements to create a fund of cash that your child can draw from as necessary. Many parents who can afford to support their children make such funding contingent on grades. 

3. Encourage your child to study hard.

Too many kids fail out of college because they simply do not apply themselves. They get caught up in the “fun”, the social life, and they let their grades slide. Encourage your child to work hard. Ask them about their studies; request to see their report card. Showing an interest in your child’s achievement is the best way to keep their nose in the text books. 

4. Help your child get career counselling.

Choosing a degree program can be challenging for kids just out of high school. Help them make a [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"310","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright size-full wp-image-8118","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"275","height":"183","alt":"educatest11"}}]]career choice by encouraging them to go to the career counseling center and school. There are tests they can take and people they can talk to when deciding on a field of study. Ask questions and talk to them about their interests. If you know people who work in a field they are interested in then arrange for them to have a conversation to learn more about such areas. 

Of course, choosing the right school for your child’s interests and your budget is also important. While an Ivy League school might come with a reputation, attending a well thought of school that has the right program and is affordable is just as important. You can also help your child prepare to get into a good school by encouraging them, throughout high school, to study well and be forward thinking. And, if they have a desire to go to a renowned college ensure that they understand how important tests, such as the ACT or SAT, will be; help them study by buying them a study guide and encouraging them to create a study schedule. 

References:

Farnen, K. (n.d.). How much more money does a college graduate make thank just a high school graduate? Retrieved from, http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/much-money-college-graduate-make-just-high-school-graduate-8703.html

 

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