Dave Says: When Parents Need To Get Serious About College Funding

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Posted: Jun 26, 2020 9:55 AM
Dave Says: When Parents Need To Get Serious About College Funding

Source: AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Dear Dave,

What percentage of our income should we save for our kids’ education? We know you recommend setting aside 15 percent for retirement, but do you have a similar rule that applies to paying for college?

Andrew

Dear Andrew,

I don’t really have a rule, or percentage, for how much you should save toward a college fund. If you’re following the Baby Steps, I recommend getting 15 percent of your income going toward retirement before saving for college. After you’ve got your retirement savings rolling, put what you can, based on your own unique situation, toward college funding. 

If you’ve got teenagers in the house, you need to get serious about college funding soon—like right now. There’s no rush if they’re toddlers, but you might want to start looking at things like a 529 or an ESA (Education Savings Account). 

The thing is, there are just too many variables, the main one being the ages of the kids, to set a strict percentage. You’ve also got to consider things like where you’re thinking about them going to school, how much you want to save up, and other factors. 

—Dave