When it comes to being a dad and managing your money, two things can make a grown man cry out for mommy: paying for a wedding and planning for college expenses. Now since I’m restricting my daughters from dating until they’re in their 40s, I’m going to concentrate on the college part of my Nightmare Before Payday.
Start Saving NOW
I can’t stress this enough: ignoring the fact that you need to come up with tens of thousands of dollars for your child’s education will not make it go away. Ignore it and it will get worse. At some point, you’ll have to look your child in the eyes and tell him or her that daddy wasted their money on video games. Not a pretty sight. Even if you only start saving a few bucks a month, do it. You can increase the amount you save gradually over time. Remember, when it comes to saving for college, time is on your side.
Choose Your Savings Vehicle
Yes, I can pull off using a fancy term like “vehicle” because I’m cool like that. But that’s beside the point. There are many different types of accounts for college savings. In addition to the usual suspects (savings accounts, taxable investment accounts, annuities, and U.S. Savings Bonds), there are other programs such as Section 529 College Savings Plans and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. Both of these provide different tax benefits, provided your plan satisfies a few basic requirements. It’s a good idea to talk to a tax expert to determine your best option.
Visit Your Credit Union
With so many different accounts available, getting started may seem overwhelming. Get over it. This is something that needs your attention. To help you sort through the many savings options, visit your credit union for help. Your credit union can offer expert advice on developing a savings and investment program for your specific needs.