How much should you save?
First, the bad news: If you have dreams of sending
your newborn child to Harvard, you'll have to raise a small
fortune to foot the bill. Now, the good news: Thanks to the
emergence of 529 plans, saving for college is easier than
ever. (And, thankfully, most schools don't come with the hefty
price tag of the tony Ivy league.) Of course, even with a
529 plan's tax-free savings, you're going to have to come
up with a savings plan early and stick to it for many,
Our worksheet will help you do it. Based on how much you've already saved, the rate you expect your savings to grow and how quickly you expect college costs to rise, we'll tell you how much you should be socking away on a monthly basis. Be warned: The figure may frighten you. But before the panic truly sets in, realize that if you do come up short, there are ways to fill in the gap, like student loans.
This calculator assumes your college-savings fund is invested in a 529 college-savings plan not a prepaid-tuition plan. (Click here if you don't know the difference.) We believe 529 plans are the best way to save for college, since they offer tax-free withdrawals. This means that while you have to save a staggering amount, it's still significantly less than you'd need to save in a taxable account.
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