Does whether you have a boy or girl impact how you save for your kid's future college costs? Most likely, yes — at least according to one recent study.
In a survey of more than 1,000 parents of 8- to 14-year-olds, T. Rowe Price found that families who only had boys were more likely to actively save for college than parents of all girls.
Even more shocking: They are also more willing to take on debt for that future diploma. Here is the alarming statistical rundown.
- 50% of parents of all boys have any college savings, versus 39% of parents of all girls.
- 17% of the all-boys parents said they would cover the entire cost of college for their sons; only 8% of all-girls parents said the same.
- 23% of all-boys parents said they personally would be willing to take on $75,000 or more in student loans, compared with only 12% of all-girls parents.
- 60% of all-boys parents would consider sending their kids to a less expensive college in order to avoid debt; 72% of all-girls parents would consider the cheaper alternative.
The report suggests that the willingness of boys' parents to go the extra mile to cover college costs appears to indicate that some old-school gender roles may still be at play — even though women now graduate college at higher rates than men.
But fact is, college tuition doesn't discriminate by gender, so it's important to prepare early no matter whether you have a boy or a girl. Here a few tips to keep in mind if saving for that future college price tag is on your radar.
Don't Sacrifice Your Own Retirement. Here's one thing all parents of the T. Rowe Price survey had in common: They were more likely to save for college than retirement (53% were saving for college, versus 49% for retirement). This is a no-no; remember that you can't apply for financial aid for your golden years, so building your nest egg shouldn't take a back seat.
Start Early to Help Your Money Grow. The earlier you can start putting money into a college savings vehicle like a 529 plan, the more time it has to grow.
It's Probably Better for You to Open a 529 Than the Grandparents. It's likely that grandparents, aunts and uncles will want to help save for college. But if a non-parent opens a 529 or some other type of college-savings account for your child, any money that is distributed from that account will count as your child's income. This could mean you get less financial aid, because a child's income is weighted more heavily in the financial aid formula than the parents' income.