Modern education costs have climbed significantly in recent decades. The cost of a four year college education now rivals buying a house, and larger numbers of students are exiting college deeply in debt.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help manage the costs associated with higher education. With some careful planning and consistency in the execution of that plan, a four year degree can be within reach even for those of limited monetary means.
It Starts With Planning:
The first step in affording a college education is proper planning. The type of school you attend, where you will live and whether you plan to work through school are all key considerations. Once you have done some planning, it will be far easier to try to determine how much you will need to afford a college education.
The sooner you start investing for college, the better. The power of compound interest in truly amazing, and can help grow your money rapidly. It is not only important to get the ball rolling on investments, but to then make sure to invest regularly. This can be accomplished easily today through automatic bank account withdrawals or even automatic paycheck deductions. Making saving completely automated will not only help you maintain discipline when it comes to saving, but may also help your funds grow faster.
Choose Investment Products:
In the world of investing, there are numerous ways to put your capital to work. Determining where to put your capital to work will be an important decision that could have a dramatic impact on returns. The longer period of time you have to save, the more risk you may be willing to take. In this case, stocks may potentially be a worthy investment. You may want to focus on stable, dividend-paying blue chips as the cornerstone of your portfolio.
If you have a short time frame of two years or less, you may want to consider investments that display less volatility. Savings accounts, CDs and money market funds may be worth consideration. An established mutual fund or diversified ETF may also potentially be a good choice.
Avoid Withdrawals Until Necessary:
The longer your money is able to work for you, the higher the potential return on investment. Do not begin taking money out until absolutely necessary, and only take out what you need to cover key expenses such as tuition, housing, food and other necessities.
A part-time job may also be a great way to stretch your college savings. Any income from a job can be used to pay expenses, which may allow you to keep your investment capital working harder and longer.
Although the cost of higher education has become a major issue for many, some careful planning combined with good investing sense and discipline can pave the way for you to attend college and focus on what’s really important: Your studies.