5 ways to balance retirement and college savings

Posted: May 6, 2012 at 6:17 am


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And if you need to save for your childrens college as well as your own retirement, youve got a daunting challenge on your hands.

The cost of a college education continues to rise faster than inflation, at roughly 5 percent per year. The average sticker-price for four years at a private college is now more than $150,000 including $38,589 for the 2011-12 school year. Even going to your states university runs close to half that total at an average $17,131 a year, according to the College Board.

Retirement is far more expensive than that.

How do you balance those important objectives? Here are five considerations to keep top-of-mind as you juggle both:

1. PUT RETIREMENT FIRST.

Student loan debt has risen above $1 trillion and the average students debt at graduation now exceeds $25,000, according to the Project on Student Debt. Hoping to keep their own kids from being overly burdened, parents often unwisely sink thousands of dollars into their childrens education that otherwise would have gone toward their own retirement.

The latest evidence of this largesse came in recent survey results by Ameriprise Financial that showed that only 24 percent of baby boomers were putting away money for their future, down from 44 percent at the end of 2007. Yet the level of support they were providing their children and other family members had not changed.

Paying for college has to take a back seat to retirement, says Kalman Chany, a New York financial aid consultant and author of Paying for College Without Going Broke.

The real dilemma is whether youll have enough money left for retirement after repaying your debt, Chany says.

Dont give in to the temptation to pitch in heavily for college without making sure your retirement savings are on track. You may well leave yourself short in the future, especially with retirements now often spanning three decades.

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5 ways to balance retirement and college savings

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May 6th, 2012 at 6:17 am

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