One of the most popular ways to save for higher education is through a savings or prepaid tuition plan known as a Section 529 qualified tuition program, or 529 plan. Currently 49 states and the District of Columbia offer 529 plans. Thirty-three states give a state tax break to parents, grandparents or friends who contribute to a 529 account.
Whether your children are 14 or 40, if you are at or near retirement age you must have a conversation about money. The conversation should be age-appropriate, and designed not to frighten, but to inform. Still, 13-year-olds need to know how much college you can afford for them, and 30-year-olds should have a sense of how much money you will have to support yourself when you will retire and what kind of help you may need from them.
We are currently in the midst of completing the college search for one son and beginning the college search for our second son. We've needed a crash course to keep up with the application and search process these days but the savings work had started years earlier. While most of the work falls to the parents and the student, the whole process of saving for school is very much a multi-generational activity. I'd like to share some of our lessons learned.
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