“There is an increasing pressure among families to figure out how to shoulder the cost of college,” says Farnoosh Torabi, a contributor at NerdWallet. “Tuition continues to go up.”
In fact, if college costs continued to increase over the next two decades the way they have over the past 10 years, it would cost about $262,000 to cover four years of tuition, room and board at a private college in 2033, up from $179,000 in 2015, according to projections from NerdWallet. The cost for a public university would grow to about $134,000 from $81,000 over that same time. (The site used cost data from the College Board.)
As with retirement, saving those seemingly insurmountable amounts becomes easier when people start early. Take NerdWallet’s calculation for a family who wants to save 100 percent of the costs of college by the time their child is 18. If they start saving when the child is one, they need to save about $4,000 a year into a 529 savings plan to afford a public university or about $7,700 a year for a private college. Wait until that kid is 15, and the amount they need to save each year jumps to $30,000 and about $60,000 respectively. (That is assuming a 7 percent average annual return.)
Of course there is no way of knowing if college costs will continue to grow at the pace that they have been. Still, few experts expect tuition prices to fall any time soon. It’s also worth noting that even if prices did increase that quickly, few people pay the full sticker price for going to college. Many students receive grants and scholarships to help reduce the total cost. That’s why some families may set more modest goals, to plan instead for covering up to 75 percent or 50 percent of college costs, Torabi says. “Don’t think of it as an all or nothing game,” she says.
The next most important lesson mothers with experience said they wish they’d known was related to what expecting moms said they wanted to know most about– whether they should stay home with their children. Thirty percent of pregnant women said they wanted advice on whether they should. Separately, 27 percent of the moms with teenagers said they had been told to stay at home as long as possible with their child.
The rest of the lessons were more financially focused. About 14 percent of moms said they wished they’d received used baby items instead of buying new ones. Nine percent wished they would’ve known to put their wills in order and 6 percent said they would have liked to be told to go back to work as soon as possible.
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