Checklist: Saving for Future Education

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Providing for a child's education is an important goal for many people. Planning ahead and understanding all your options are keys to achieving it. We understand the variety of investments and savings options that are available and can help you develop a strategy that takes all your goals into consideration. Working through the items on this checklist with your financial advisor can help you start turning your goal into a reality.

Plan for the expected

Develop your education funding goal

  • Consider what type of school you expect your child to attend: public, private or vocational.
  • Estimate future costs. You don't have to know the exact amount, especially if your kids are young. Even an estimate can be helpful, and your financial advisor has a tool to estimate future costs at most colleges and universities.
  • Determine how much of the costs you wish to cover.

Determine where you are today

  • Work with your financial advisor to take stock of your current financial situation and needs.
  • Identify ways to increase your savings.
  • Discuss balancing education savings with your other goals, such as retirement.

Understand your savings plan options

  • Review various ways to save for education, including:
    • 529 plans
    • Personal savings
    • Custodial accounts

Prepare for the unexpected

  • Create an emergency cash reserve to cover at least three to six months' worth of living expenses.
  • Discuss strategies, such as life insurance, to protect your family and finances from unpredictable risks.
  • Keep your beneficiary information up-to-date.

Position your portfolio for both

Determine investment allocation

  • After understanding your goals, current situation, time frame and risk tolerance, your financial advisor can help you choose investments appropriate for you and make adjustments as these factors change.
  • Keep your focus on the long term through any short-term fluctuations that may occur during your college-saving years.

Review, review, review

  • Review your college savings strategy at least annually
  • Review changes to your:
    • Savings goals
    • Investment mix
    • Investment performance
    • Insurance
  • Adjust your strategies, if necessary.

How we can help

While we've provided a starting point here, your financial advisor can help build a strategy that's right for you. Call or schedule time to meet face to face.

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