The raising of a child has been well-documented as an expensive endeavor. From the seeming endless need of more Pampers as a baby, to school supplies as he enters elementary school, your precious little bundle of joy will no doubt wreak havoc on your pocketbook for years to come. While you may be tempted into thinking that all of these expenses magically disappear when your baby turns 18, think again moms! In fact, one of the biggest expenses you may ever be faced with paying will arrive shortly after your child turns 18: college tuition.

Regardless of whether your little guy wants to stay at home and attend the local community college or is aiming for the Ivy League schools, university courses can be ridiculously expensive. Furthermore, unless you’ve got a wealthy relative willing to foot the bill for your child’s university tuition, much of the responsibility for paying those bills will likely fall onto your shoulders. While financial aid exists in the form of many different scholarships and grant programs, you’ll likely still be paying a significant sum for your child’s tuition.

The best response is to begin planning for these future expenses now. You may already feel challenged to make ends meet now, but planning for your financial future is of utmost importance. Though education is an expensive step in your child’s development, you want to afford him the opportunity to attend an institution where he’ll be able to mature and develop the skills needed for a satisfying career down the road. By developing a financial plan now, you’ll ensure that you’ll be able to give your child that opportunity.

One of the first steps in developing a financial plan is to estimate how much college is going to cost. Though tuition varies greatly between private schools and state institutions, try to find a happy medium and make that your goal. You may not be able to finance your child’s entire education at Princeton, for example, but if you set a high goal you’ll allow yourself to meet any financial requirements at lesser- known schools. Furthermore, should your child choose to attend an Ivy League school, you’ll greatly minimize the need for a student loan.

In investing your money, make certain to take an active approach. Placing money in a savings account will yield minimal returns, meaning you’ll likely want to invest in mutual funds. You may also want to consider Roth and Education IRAs, depending on your financial situation. Many other pre-paid tuition plans and college saving plans also exist. You may wish to consult with a financial advisor, who’ll be able to discuss the myriad of different options with you.

Regardless of what approach you take, by starting the saving process today, you’ll alleviate unnecessary stress in the future. Look at today’s savings as an investment in your child’s tomorrow. By spending the necessary time and resources allocating funds for his future educational endeavors, you’ll guarantee that he’ll start future classes off on the right foot.

Jennifer Kardish writes for Home Tuition where a child’s education is the highest priority. Home Tuition Agency understands that the needs of each and every child are unique.

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