Perhaps you just had a child, or your children are growing up. You might be thinking about all the fun memories you will have together and all of the great milestones, right? Preschool, kindergarten, high school graduation, college…
Wait – college?
After high school comes college, and college means money. Money that you don’t have right now! You need to start saving for college right away!
Calm down, calm down. Instead of worrying about what you should do, think about what not to do! Stop and think about a few things first.
Below are three common mistakes that parents make when saving money for their kids’ college.
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1. Not Starting Early Enough
One of the first significant mistakes parents make when trying to save for college is procrastinating. Most parents don’t think about saving for college until the child is a senior or is getting ready to move into their dorm.
Granted, not everyone can save $100 a week for their children’s college, and that’s okay. Any little bit helps! Even if you save change, put back $1 a week, or just try not to go under a certain amount in your savings account.
2. Counting on a Free Ride
Do not get us wrong – we know and understand that your child is super intelligent, a star athlete, or was valedictorian at their high school – and that’s great. But those things do not always mean that your child will be able to attend college purely on a scholarship.
Yes, it’s a scary idea, but just think how relieved you will feel when your child earns a scholarship, and you can rest easy knowing that you can afford half the bill! Don’t count on having it easy! Be prepared for the worst – your kid may not earn any scholarships.
3. Not Doing Your Research on Loans
Four words – Read. The. Fine. Print!
One of the worst mistakes a parent and child can make when getting a student loan for college is not properly researching their loans and signing their lives away! Make sure to really pay attention to the loans you are interested in – you could easily sign off on the biggest mistake of your life if you aren’t careful!
And not only that, don’t cosign on a loan for your children without reading it first! We know you want to help your child succeed, but if that kid decides not to pay the loan back or finds themselves in a situation where they can’t, the burden of that loan falls on whose shoulders? YOURS!
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College is a fun, new adventure for students and parents. You should be focused on your child’s bright future, not your wallet. Steer clear of these common pitfalls, and your family and your bank account will be happy!