Planning for college can begin as early as freshman year in high school

Bill Cass, CFP®, CPWA®

Bill Cass, CFP®, CPWA®, 09/03/19

Planning for college can begin as early as freshman year in high school

Even for students just settling in to high school, it is not too early to start planning for college.

Students and parents have many things to do during the high school years to prepare for college. Students will likely be focused on their academic performance and extracurricular activities. Parents may increase their focus on financial planning and how to optimize savings plans and financial aid. Planning actions for both parents and students can begin in the freshman and sophomore years.

Meeting with a financial advisor is one way that families can learn about the steps and deadlines. Putnam’s “Four-year action plan to prepare for college” can be a helpful year-by-year guide for students and parents

Action items to consider:

Seek advice

Planning for college is an exciting time for students. For parents, the window for saving may have narrowed, but there is still time to optimize financial decisions during the high school years. Meeting with a professional advisor can help families reach their goals. Establishing a plan to spend savings for college expenses is as important as planning to save. Read Putnam’s investor education piece “Strategies to make the most of college savings" to consider guidance on saving as well as selecting accounts to draw on when the first tuition bill arrives.

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