Before your child was even born, you were planning. What will we name him? What color should we paint her room? What is the best childcare alternative?

But with all the demands and decisions that new parents face, one important aspect is often unintentionally overlooked in those early stages – college. However, with tuition rates rising, it should be at the top of every parent’s planning list ... no matter what the child’s age.

What’s more, saving for a child’s education doesn’t necessarily have to rest entirely with parents. With the flexibility and convenience of today’s savings plans, many alternatives make good sense for grandparents, aunts and uncles, other family members and friends.

You have big dreams for the child in your life. Don’t let a lack of planning sidetrack those aspirations. Our knowledge and professional guidance can help you give your child the opportunity for the bright future he or she deserves.

Although it is best to start the college investment process when your child is young, it is never too late to begin. No matter your child’s age, what’s important is that you plan now. It is easy to put off thinking about these expenses, hoping that your child will receive scholarships or financial aid. But don’t count on them. While these awards do help with college funding, they are not guaranteed, not always comprehensive and not available to everyone.

If your child is young, then time is on your side. Because you’ll have plenty of time, you may be able to invest less money now and, thanks to the potential impact of compounding returns, let your savings do much of the work for you.

Don’t panic if your child is already in high school. While you may need to invest more money in a shorter time frame, you should still be able to afford at least a portion of college costs.

Take a close look at options without specific contribution limits, as they may be more appropriate for you now.

Also, talk to your child about specific goals. What schools is he or she interested in? Is college an option or does your child have his or her sights set on a vocational school? Some plans limit the beneficiary’s choices, so it is important to understand your child’s expectations.

With many new college savings alternatives available, it is critical to choose the one that’s appropriate for you. Selecting the wrong plan – or not investing properly within the right one – can prohibit you from maximizing your savings. However, with the help of our experienced guidance, choosing the right alternative can be easy.

  • What are the tax benefits?
  • Who controls the funds?
  • How much risk is involved?
  • Are there contribution limits that may hinder your ability to meet savings goals?
  • Are large contributions subject to gift taxes?
  • What investment options are available?