Plan design by a competent financial adviser whose area of expertise centers around college education is worth the fee for the plan alone. You have to have a road map, a timeline with benchmarks, and accountability dates to monitor your progress along the path of saving for college and arranging your finances years in advance. A good place to start is My Tuition score that can give a basic understanding of where you are academically and financially. Then taking SAT and ACT preparation courses to achieve the best results. All these items need to be in the college plan. The fees to construct a college plan could pay major dividends in saving you money and heartache and not place your own retirement in jeopardy.
Case in point: the Baby Boomer Generation. No other generation in the last 100 years is economically squeezed like this demo-populace, born between 1946 and 1964. In or nearing retirement, the boomers are sandwiched in between paying off their parent’s eldercare and paying off their children’s college tuition. Yes, still paying off their kid’s college tuition into retirement! A catastrophic consequence of burning both ends of the candle is approaching retirement without having paid off their mortgage. Preceding generations made paying off a mortgage a first priority. If succeeding generations are observing their parents and grandparents they need an immediate course correction if college and retirement planning is to be successful. A fee based financial plan will help organize your goals and money as well as using a trusted adviser to escort you through this money minefield. The college plan (with a correlated retirement plan) is a separate document and standalone directive. The purchasing of products and securing loans is a separate process.
Traditionally 529 College Plans have been a mainstay as a college savings instrument and, in general, mutual funds and ETFs funded them. But during the lost decade (2001-2010) when the market lost money 4 out of 10 years, some parents have become skittish about market volatility and are seeking more stability in conservative financial products like annuities, cash value life insurance and HECM appreciating equity lines of credit for those ages 62 and older. One thing that Baby Boomers are learning is that borrowing from your 401(k) costs money and it could extend their retirement date further into the future. Remember, it’s your life. It’s your time. It’s your money.
John McDonough has contributed to this press release. Segments in part or whole are from his publications