Now's the Best Time to Save for College
For many families, college planning is a group effort with parents and children working jobs to save money for higher education. A minimum-wage or part-time position can only get a future college student so far, though. For parents, there are multiple options available for creating a college savings plan and regularly contributing to it.
Anyone casually following the higher-education marketplace knows that tuition costs are always on the rise. Public universities increase tuition to cover expenses where state budgets fall short. And private universities also face financial challenges, especially those that have encountered decreased enrollment before and in the wake of the pandemic.
Families with younger children have the advantage of more time to build savings. But no matter where your family is, it’s a good time to start planning and saving for college. This is true even if you’re an adult interested in returning to school to finish your bachelor’s degree or to earn additional certification or even an advanced degree.
And don’t forget, you always want to explore scholarships and grants to defray costs.
We can help you figure out which accounts and investment options work best for your financial situation.
Saving for major expenses
When paying for the heavy-hitting costs of tuition, room, and board, it’s good to have a longer-term plan tied to more sophisticated accounts. With this level of financial planning, Starion Bank’s wealth advisors provide trusted guidance to explain all your investment options.
Saving for college can be less daunting when you’re working with someone you know who cares about the goals you’re trying to reach. We’ll give you plain-spoken explanations about how to take advantage of several types of special college savings plan.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): IRAs aren’t just for retirement. A Roth IRA, specifically, can be used to address the expenses of higher education. We’ll explain all the tax implications and details to help you figure out if this is a good option for you.
529 Plans: These state-sponsored plans are popular options for parents who want to build up college savings while enjoying specific tax advantages. North Dakota’s College SAVE and Wisconsin’s Edvest plans are just two of the options available. With a 529 Plan, you use post-tax money that grows tax-free, and you can use it tax-free for qualified college expenses. These plans typically focus on specific mutual funds aligned with the date your child enters college. The investments become more conservative the closer your child gets to entering college. Keep in mind, you can contribute as much money as you wish, but you can’t use a 529 Plan for primary or secondary school tuition.
Education Savings Accounts: Another great option is Rough Rider Savings that's structured as a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) account. This means you, as a parent or guardian, control the account until your child turns 19 years of age. When you open this account, we'll donate $26 directly to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, while depositing $26 in your child's account, too. Take note, a portion of your investment income may be taxed annually as “unearned income.” On the other hand, if your child decides not to attend college or the money is needed sooner for an emergency, you can use this money penalty-free for non-educational purposes.
Remember the basics
There’s a full lineup of go-to savings accounts at Starion Bank, all of which pair nicely with our interest-bearing Smart Plus checking. These are helpful for setting aside money that can address various college expenses. Maybe the money helps reduce costs at the bookstore or serves as grocery money when meal plans don’t cover every day of the week. Whatever the purpose, some extra savings always comes in handy.
Kids’ Savings: Our Youth Savings account is the perfect way to help children start saving early and to give them a feeling of ownership over the process.
Regular Savings: This foundational account is designed to make it easy for you to steadily feed the account as it grows at a competitive rate.
Money Market: For an added boost in returns, our Money Market is a good option. You’ll maintain access to your cash with the ability to make up to six withdraws per month, penalty-free.
Certificates of Deposit: When you’re able to set aside extra money for a specific period of time, you can take advantage of some of our best rates of return. Choose terms between six months and five years and let your money grow steadily during the time.
College is a time of exploring numerous options to find the best fit. The same goes for saving and planning for that college experience. We’ll help you put together a strategy that aligns with what you and your children are trying to achieve.