How do I save for college?
October 8, 2007 8:41 AM Subscribe
How do I help my girlfriend make sure her daughter has the resources to pursue a college education?
posted by kbanas to work & money (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I guess I was kind of privileged. My grandparents and my parents came together when I was nothing but a baby to invest in the Michigan Educational Trust, and, when the time came, my tuition was in the bag and I only had to worry about room and board. Hooray.
My girlfriend has a daughter who is 8. As far as I know, neither she (or the ex-husband) have made any provisions for college, and this concerns me!
I mean, I don't blame them. They're both around 30, and I know, from discussions (with my girlfriend, at least) that they want to save, they just don't know where to start, and with the rush and bustle of making it through the day, it's just one of those things that gets pushed to the back burner.
That's where you guys come in - or, at least, I hope you it's where you guys come in. I'd like to get some information about ways to start - who to talk to, what to do - so that I can hopefully break down an immense problem ("How do I save for my child's college?!") into a manageable first step.
Both parents pull in around 50K a year, more or less. First, is it time to panic? As I said, her daughter is 8. If they start saving conservatively now, will there be enough in the bank when it comes time to enroll in college when she turns 18? I know this depends on a lot of things - in-state vs out-of-state, Yale vs Washtenaw Community College - so let's just assume I'm asking as generically as possible.
Second, where do they start? I've heard a lot about something called a 529 plan. Is that the best way to go? And if it is, who do they talk to? Do they just go to a government website and download the appropriate paperwork? Or do they talk to a financial planner? If it's a financial planner, where do they find one who's reputable? Do they go to their local bank and talk to someone there? You can see, for the financially naive, that this is a dark and mysterious road full of mystery.
Any advice or thoughts you might have on this subject in general would be greatly appreciate.. and not just by me! You're helping the future!