GUEST BLOGGER: ELIZABETH DAVIS
Paying for college can be an overwhelming task. According to the Federal Reserve (2019) the average student loan debt per students finishing an undergraduate degree is $32,731.
I was in graduate school when my daughter was born. Ironically the semester that she was born I was in a social policy class that discussed the expense of having children. I was overwhelmed and disheartened to learn that on average it costs $233,610 to raise a child to the age of 18 and that was NOT including college expenses! I was pregnant, sick, and overwhelmed by what seemed like the impossible task of planning for my child’s future while I was still in the throes of finishing my own education.
Fortunately, I also had the opportunity to participate in a finance class that stressed the importance of starting early and taking small steps to reach big goals. After she was born, I opened a savings account in her name and put $15 a month into it. At that time $15 a month was a sacrifice and I knew that $15 a month for 18 years = ($3,240) would leave me drastically short of paying for her college experience. However, I knew that I needed to start somewhere and that was the best I could do.
Because we started the habit of budgeting for our daughters’ college education when our income was very low, as we finished college and our income increased we were also able to increase what we were contributing each month.
That baby girl just turned 10. She’s still not fully funded for college, however, the increased contributions that we are able to make every month decrease the debt that she will incur in order to prepare for her future. We may not be able to fully cover the expense of college for our children (plural now) but by taking small steps we are doing what we are able to help them get a start in adulthood that does not include crippling debt.
Saving for a big goal whether its college for your kids, a house, or retirement can be very daunting. Remember to take baby steps and focus on what you are able to do now!
For more strategies to save for kids' college expenses click here
Average Student Loan Debt in America: 2019 Facts & Figures
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