Before their children are even born, parents start doing everything in their power
to make sure their kids have as many opportunities for success as possible. Parents
understand how much of an influence learning and education will have on their kids’
futures. Anticipating how to pay for a child’s college education can be frightening
today without even considering the changes to come in the future.
The cost of higher education has increased for years at rates well above inflation.
Even, historically lower cost state-run universities are reviewing their expenses
and have begun to raise their tuition rates as well. Rates are also rising at 1
to 2 year technical or trade schools.
What are the average costs? A four-year public college or university averages approximately
$3510, including tuition and fees annually, while private institutions average $16,332.
On a more positive (and lower costing) note, almost three-quarters of college students
attend a four-year college where tuition costs are less than $8000 a year. Of course,
these averages do not include room and board or books and supplies. Overall, a four-year
college education can end up costing as much as $100,000 or more and for parents
trying to figure out how to pay for all of this, it can be unnerving.
Parents may have difficulty developing a plan for college savings but all of these
price ‘variations’ can make it even more difficult. For a more realistic
perspective, parents should to consider what schools your child may attend, and
begin planning from current cost information from those institutions. Granted costs
may continue to rise between now and when your child enters college, but this information
will give you an approximate total goal. Recognize that these figures can be intimidating.
The sooner you start, the less of a burden it will be and the better battle plan
you’ll create. (Again, when you start early, you’re looking at maintaining
savings programs over 10 to 18 years, not just one or two.)
There are many different ways to save and invest to pay the cost of education. The
World Wide Web has numerous websites with tuition saving and college investment
calculators. These calculators can assist you in determining how much its going
to cost to send your child to college and how much you’ll need to regularly
save to get them there. (Try
One of the most highly advocated methods of saving for education expenses involve
Section 529 plans. In 1996 Congress authorized Section 529 investment plans. These
plans offer flexibility, control, and tax and financial aid advantages. The funds
can be used for college expenses in any state, at any accredited college. If one
child does not use the funds (drops out or is not interested in college) another
member of the family—including cousins, nieces or nephews—can be named
as beneficiary or recipient.
Unlike other college savings plans Section 529 plans do not transfer control of
the money at the age of majority to the beneficiary. The donor or saver retains
control over the funds until they are needed. The plan funds can be used for a wide
variety of expenses but all must relate to higher education. (So there’s no
risk that the recipient will use the funds for some other purpose such as to buy
a car or boat as with some other programs.) Section 529 plans are not considered
a student asset when financial aid is determined and currently are completely tax-free
at the time of withdrawal if used for qualified educational costs.
Most importantly, do your research early, consult a financial advisor, and get
As every parent knows: kids grow up before you know it!!
The Credit Advisors Foundation staff was recently rewarded with national recognition
for professional excellence, quality of service and commitment to consumer education.
Arbor Investment in Financial Education awarded professional certification for the
second consecutive year to all Credit Advisors Foundation credit counselors. In
addition, for the first time, Arbor also recognized the CAF support staff due to
their commitment to match the same degree of exacting, superior expertise, knowledge
and performance as our credit counselors.
The credit counselor certification is awarded annually to those who maintain the
highest ethical standards in the credit counseling industry, as well as, demonstrate
exceptional communication skills, understanding of the causes and consequences of
consumer credit and debt choices and the best practices for enhancing consumer financial
Credit Advisors Foundation and our Board of Directors are extremely proud of our
counselors and support staff. We are pleased that their efforts and accomplishments
have been acknowledged and recognized through the certification process.
Congratulations to all!!!
Have some fun! This month in Word Search we invite you to locate the words hidden
in our puzzle. The words, listed below, relate to the articles in July 2004 Defeat
Over half of us will take a summer vacation this year. Those of us planning on getting
away may have an extra-special souvenir waiting for us when we get back. More debt.
Seventy-five percent of us vacationers plan on paying with plastic and although
we may intend to pay off these debts in full when we return, odds are we won’t.
The problem with using credit cards to pay for vacation fun is really the same as
any other time, but probably more so at vacation time—we tend to underestimate
our spending and overestimate our ability to repay.
Awareness and planning can go a long way to avoiding vacation debt mishaps. Travel
experts report that those who don’t plan out their vacation strategies appear
to handle their finances in the same manner—no planning.
So simply put, set up a budget.
Determine what financial boundaries are necessary to keep you on the smart track.
Shop around for better deals on airfare and lodging ahead of time and keep an eye
on prices for necessities at your destination.
Save ahead and be creative with your family to find ways to set aside funds earmarked
for vacation spending, such as a garage sale, work bonuses, or saving your pocket
change as a family throughout the year. Of course, when designing your vacation
budget never forget to consider those regular debts, mortgage or rent, utilities,
and insurance that must continue to be paid while you’re away.
As a society, we tend to spend approximately 10% more than we earn and that trend
is also apparent in our vacation spending. Although through our vacations we may
be attempting to take a break and alleviate the stress of our daily lives, many
of us still vacation beyond our means, coming home to even more stressful debt issues
we’ve created during our time away. Be aware that credit cards with balances
from vacation will increase the total cost of your vacation through interest and
fees. Many consumers find themselves paying for vacations for years after the event.
With a little planning, budgeting and realistic, yet creative resource assessment
you can create a relaxing and debt free vacation.
Cook meat in a skillet until browned. Place in slow cooker.
Add all other ingredients to slow cooker.
Cook on high for 6-8 hours, until meat is fork tender. (You may need to add liquid
to keep meat covered—feel free to use some of the remaining BBQ sauce.)
After the meat is tender, you can turn the slow-cooker to low until ready to serve
These ribs are good as is, or as pulled pork sandwiches.