College Savings Scorecard: How Do You Compare?

College Savings Scorecard: How Do You Compare?

If children are our future, then it's lucky for us that the next generation is getting a head start on higher education.

The nonprofit College Savings Foundation’s new survey finds that 72% of kids age 18 or under have set aside money for college.

And the overwhelming majority of these savers (76%) got started by the age of 5. Only 4% waited until their mid-to-late teens to tackle a college fund.

The preferred approach of those surveyed involved opening a 529 plan, with nearly half of savers opting for these state-sponsored, tax-advantaged plans.

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Families can use 529 savings to cover future education costs, which add up fast. The average price of a four-year private college in the U.S. now tops $40,000 per year.

The rise of tuition costs—and the student loans many take on as a consequence—has been making headlines. And that may be motivating families to start saving ASAP to avoid borrowing more later.

While it’s encouraging to see good habits in action, how much are they really saving?

Among kids age 10 and under, the most common amount put aside was less than $5K per year per child. As freshman orientation looms, savers with kids between ages 11 and 18 were most likely to earmark $10,001-$25,000 for college.

If education costs are on your mind, read up on saving for college 101 and 7 steps for broaching the topic with your kids.

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