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Saving For College: What Every Family Should Know

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Summary: Higher learning doesn't come cheap, and many families struggle to pay for the annual tuition costs necessary for their children's education. In other cases, college students work while attending school or even take out student loans to help cover the costs. One way to avoid the stress is to start saving early, and this can be done in a number of ways. U.S. Savings Bonds are a popular way for many individuals and families to save money. With both the Series I Bonds, whic...

Higher learning doesn't come cheap, and many families struggle to pay for the annual tuition costs necessary for their children's education. In other cases, college students work while attending school or even take out student loans to help cover the costs. One way to avoid the stress is to start saving early, and this can be done in a number of ways. U.S. Savings Bonds are a popular way for many individuals and families to save money. With both the Series I Bonds, which are sold at face value, and the Series EE Bonds, which are sold at half their face value, you can earn interest for up to 30 years. According to the most recent brochure, investing $100.00 per month into U.S. Savings Bonds could possibly equal $24,609.00 in 15 years. This is, however, only an example and the actual figure will be based upon current rates and the investor's ability to save. Best of all, the interest earned on savings bonds is exempt from all state and local income taxes. Federal income taxes are deferred until the bonds reach final maturity, or until they are redeemed, whichever comes first. In some cases, the interest earned may be excluded from federal income taxes if the funds are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses. Another popular method of saving is through Certificates of Deposit, also known as CDs, which are available at most financial institutions. Although these require a larger investment, typically a minimum of $1,000.00, they allow for the interest earned to roll over into the CD's value. In other words, you can literally earn interest on your interest depending on the plan that you purchase. Unlike U.S. Savings Bonds, however, income taxes are due and payable each year for the interest earned on a Certificate of Deposit. If you find yourself in a situation where there are no savings available for college tuition, students are often permitted to take fewer classes and simply pay for each course individually. This prevents families from having to produce a full-time tuition when the money simply isn't available. Financial aid, student loans and payment plans are typically offered to students who qualify, which may make the a college degree within reach for many who may otherwise not be able to afford the tuition expenses. The information contained in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional financial advice or recommendations relating to incomes taxes, investments and/or the ability to pay for college using any of the aforementioned methods. For additional information, consult a financial planner in your area.
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