Tag Archives: college

My Child May Not Go To College

girl-3718526_1920You may be thinking what if my child decides not to go to college?  Maybe your child may join the military or start his/her own business.  Maybe your child may work for a year to save for college.   Any one of these scenarios or dozens more could happen.  Your good intentions may not pan out because your child may have a different plan.  That’s ok.  Save anyway, but here’s how.

piggy-bank-2889042_1920Get into the habit of saving.  You can save money in your bank’s savings or money market accounts.  One of the best methods for saving is through a Roth IRA.  You will receive a higher return on investment with a Roth than you would with a regular savings account.

Why Use a Roth IRA? One of the benefits of a Roth IRA is that your money grows tax-deferred.   Why not grow your money tax-deferred?  The return on investment is higher than a regular savings or money market account.  Another benefit is that if needed, you can make eligible withdrawals from the Roth IRA without penalty.

What is a Roth IRA?

information-1481584_1280There is a ton of information out there about the Roth IRA.  I’ll be sharing that information!  Get the information that you need and open a Roth soon.  When you’re young and in a lower tax bracket, a Roth IRA is a great asset.  It’s a long-term investment, but when needed, you can withdraw from it.  The rest of us should have a retirement plan with our employer, especially if our employer offers a match contribution.  Then, we should be saving in a Roth IRA.

How Much Can I Contribute?

Contribute the maximum to take the best advantage of a Roth.    Create auto deposit so that you are contributing regularly.  Need to see some numbers? For example, if you’re 20 years old and invest $5,500 in your Roth.  At 65 years old, this contribution will turn into almost $486,000.  If you’re 30 years old, $5,500, at 65, turns into around $126,000.  Time does matters.  If you’re 40 years old, $5,500, at 65, turns into around $40,000.

Using the bankrate.com calculator and maximizing your contribution,

  • Age 25: Your total contribution at age 65 will be $235,000.  Your total investment will be around $1,284,100.
  • Age 35: Your total contribution at age 65 will be $180,000.  Your total investment will be around $624,657.
  • Age 45: Your total contribution at age 65 will be $125,000.  Your total investment will be around $289,430.

Wait!  Stay with me!  If you’re 30 or 40 years old, you probably have an employer retirement plan like a 401(k).  Open a Roth IRA and contribute monthly.  You can have both accounts open and contribute to both.  Remember the 401(k) is saving pre-tax dollars and the Roth IRA is saving after-tax dollars.

save-3451075_1920The goal is to save and save as much as you can.  Take control of your life.  Save for things you want to buy, for a new house, for vacations, for a new car.  If you are using loans and credit cards to buy stuff, you’re no longer in control of your life.  What’s your Money Plan?

Stay tuned for my next blog.  Please share my blog with your friends.

Gail Sasao

eMail:  gail@MyMoneyPlan4College.com

Web:  MyMoneyPlan4College.com


How to Save for College

mentor-3512369_1920How are you saving for college?  You could put money into your savings account at the bank.  A better way to save is putting money in a money market or certificate of deposit (CD) account.  However, “college savings plans are the antidote to student loan debt,” says Mark Kantrowitz.

Start today!  Open an account and start with the minimum monthly contribution.  I’ve seen a ton of information out there about college savings plans.  Instead of only reading all this information, take action today.  You can do it!

I Don’t Have Money to Save

Where are you spending your spare cash?  Are you spending your spare cash onrawpixel-778720-unsplash espresso drinks, alcohol, movies, dining out?  Save the money for college.  Make your own Caramel Macchiato or Café Mocha at home using these simple recipes.  Put the money you save into your college savings plan.  I was buying a Grande espresso drink 5 days per week.  At $5 per drink, that’s $25 per week or $100 per month that I spent on coffee drinks.  Yikes!  I stopped doing that and put that money into savings.

You can stream movies online through Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and other companies that cost a lot less than one movie ticket.  Put the money you save into your college savings plan.  I told myself I don’t need to see that blockbuster movie when it hits the theaters.  I can wait a month for it to stream on Netflix.  Plus, I save on popcorn and soda that I would normally buy at the theater.  Added savings!

Have fun cooking your dinners at home.  There are so many quick, simple recipes online to choose from.  Eat out only on special occasions, such as a wedding anniversary or a bacon-2815_1920milestone birthday.  Put the money you save into your college savings plan.  I love eating out.  It’s easier than cooking at home.  But, at $10 to $20 per meal, that’s a lot of money I’m spending on convenience and extra calories.  I stopped doing that and dine out only once a month and put the rest of that money into savings.

Look at other ways to reduce spending and put the savings into your college savings plan.

Why Save in a College Savings Plan? 

Here are the benefits using a college savings plan.

  • Your money grows tax-free.   IRS logo
  • Withdrawals are exempt from federal income tax when used for qualified higher education expenses.
  • Many states also exempt withdrawals from state income-tax for qualified higher education expenses.
  • Most plans have very low minimum monthly contribution limits making them attractive to families regardless of income level. Some states have minimum limits as low as $15.
  • Money can be used at virtually any accredited college in the country. You can find qualified schools on FAFSA’s website.
  • Money can be used to pay for a variety of college expenses, including tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies and required equipment.
  • Contributions can be made conveniently through payroll deduction or automatic transfers from a bank account
  • Many states offer maximum contribution limits of $300,000 or more.
  • Assets within 529 plans are protected from bankruptcy.
  • Most states offer a low-cost option that can be opened by contacting the plan directly.

The FAFSA and College Savings Plan

When filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for financial aid, FAFSA logoonly about 6% of the college savings plan investment is counted as an asset if the parent or dependent student is the account holder.  Watch this video, “Does a 529 Plan Affect Financial Aid?”  Distributions or withdrawals from the college savings plan could count on the FAFSA as untaxed income.

gesture-772977_1920Saving in a college savings plan shouldn’t be a daunting task.  This is where I come in.  As a college savings coach, I can help you.

Share my blog with your friends and family.

Gail Sasao

eMail:  gail@MyMoneyPlan4College.com

Web:  MyMoneyPlan4College.com

Are You Saving for College or Borrowing Student Loans?


September is College Savings Month!

How are you doing on your money plan?  Now that you’ve created an emergency fund, what are you doing about saving for your child’s college expenses?  In my job as a financial aid advisor, I see too many families borrowing student loans to pay for college.  Remember Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail?  Without a plan, these families have no choice but to borrow student loans to pay for college.  They are learning the hard way that their lives have been negatively changed, maybe for life.  The student is finding that she/he can’t buy a house or new car and the parents are finding that they can’t pay off their own debts and need to delay retirement.

Ideally, parents should start saving for their child’s college expenses when the child is people-1839564_1920born.  They can leverage the amount that they save by starting early.  Save small and then increase the amount as the years go by.  If your child is older, start now.

The key is to start. 

Whether you’re able to save for all four years of expenses, or only one year, you are saving.  You’ll reduce the amount of student loans to borrow or avoid borrowing altogether.

If you’re planning to attend college, you should also be saving for college expenses and not borrowing student loans.  Start now before you enter college.  Save as much as you can while you’re still working.

How to save money.

piggy-bank-2889042_1920There are a few ways to save money.  Traditionally, people save money in a savings account at their bank or credit union.  When they’ve saved enough, they can move the money into a money market or certificate of deposit (CD) account to increase the return on investment.  Your emergency fund can be saved in a traditional savings account.  When you’ve saved enough to move the money into a market account, think about doing it because money market gives a higher return on investment than a regular savings account.  In addition, your money remains liquid; so, you can pull out the funds when needed.

You can use these methods for saving for college, but there are better methods and I’ll tell you why in my next blog.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  Please share my blog with your friends.

Gail Sasao

eMail:  gail@MyMoneyPlan4College.com

Web:  MyMoneyPlan4College.com

What’s Your Money Plan

abundance-achievement-bank-534229Have you heard the saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail?”  I found this to be true in my own life.  So, do you have a money plan?  “Most Americans are saving far too little, and not having savings makes you vulnerable to going into debt for emergency expenses or ending up with too little money to support you during retirement.”  [The Motley Fool: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2018/08/05/5-simple-tricks-for-saving-more-money.aspx]   Dave Ramsey says, “Imagine if you had $1,000 cash in your hand, ready to pay for that unexpected event.”

Step 1:

The first step and a key step is to create a habit.  Yes, I did say habit.  Start saving a little every month, say, $10, from each pay check.  That’s $20 a month if you get paid twice a month.  Can you set up direct deposit of $10 from your paycheck into your savings?  Check with your payroll office to see if you can do that.   Or, set up your bank account to automatically transfer $20 monthly from checking to savings. Easy peasy, right?  Keep it up until you don’t have to think about it or remember to do it.  It will be as automatic as breathing.  The key is to start!

Congratulations!  You’ve now started saving for emergencies!   If you’re already saving, increase the amount that you save, say, by 5% or double the amount that you’re currently saving.  You should be saving around 10% of your paycheck monthly for emergencies and the goal is to save between three and six months of pay for emergencies.  For example, if you earn $1,000 a month, you should save between $3,000 and $6,000 for emergencies.

I have no money to save:

Ah, but you’re saying, “Right!  How can I save when I have no money?”  I know what you mean.  I’ve been there.  So…here’s what you can do.  The Motley Fool suggests making a game of it by challenging your spouse, partner or friend to who can have more no-spending days.  The amount that you didn’t spend should be plopped into your savings account.  For example, if you would have bought a latte and bagel today from Starbucks, put that amount into your savings.  I challenge you. How many no-spending days can you do?  Increase your no-spending days and see how much you save.

I did say make this fun, so, you can still have your favorite beverage and bite to eat.  Simply planning your day will lead to a successful day.  How about making


your favorite beverage at home and buying your favorite bite to eat from the market?  What can you prepare the night before?  Beverage makers can be timed so your drink is ready to go when you head out the door.  Get one that works for your schedule.  Toast your treat while you’re getting dressed for work.  See how much you save by making your beverage and bite to eat at home.  Do the same with lunch.  Instead of buying lunch daily that costs between $10 and $20, bring lunch from home.  There are many great options available.  From my local Natural Grocers, I buy a container of mixed greens, a pack of cherry tomatoes, my favorite dressing, and a container of my favorite grilled chicken.  I have lunch for the week and I spent around $3 to $4 per meal instead of $10 to $12.  I saved $7 to $8 per meal and put that into my savings!  Share your plan with us!  Forbes’s article, 35 Realistic Ways to Save Money Starting Now, gives other great ideas for saving.  Let’s plan for success.

Create a Money Plan:

The next step, and an important step, is to create a money plan, or what’s called a budget.  Oh no, did I say a dirty word!?  Budget gets a bad rap, but it’s really a tool for success. It doesn’t have to be a hard thing to do.  Simply, a budget is income minus expenses.  If you spent all your paycheck before you receive your next one, you’re in deep trouble.

What a money plan allows you to do is see where you’re spending.  You can tweak areas where you’re overspending.  There are many budgeting apps out there.  Check out the Forbes 15 Powerful Money Apps.  I use Mint and love it.  Choose the app that works best for you.  If you want a worksheet that you can work on and save to your computer, the Consumer.gov Make a Budget worksheet is a fairly simple, but good one that you can use.  The links to both the apps article and the worksheet are located in my show notes.  Create another good habit–budgeting monthly.  Share with us what you’re doing and tell us what’s working and what’s not.  How did you fix what’s not working?

So, how are you going to plan to fail or to succeed.

Share my blog with your friends and family.

Gail Sasao

eMail:  gail@MyMoneyPlan4College.com

Web:  MyMoneyPlan4College.com

Why are you borrowing student loans to get your child a college degree?


Did you know…

CNNMoney reported that “about four in ten people who’ve gone to college have taken out loans to pay for school.”  [http://money.cnn.com/2018/06/05/pf/college/student-loan-stats/index.html] The Federal Reserve latest report said that over 1.52 million dollars of student loans were borrowed in 2018, compared to 1.49 million dollars in 2017.  It’s July 2018; so we’re only halfway into 2018!

Burdened by Student Loan Debt

In a Chicago Sun Times article, people spoke out on how their student loan debt.  Watch the video!  [https://chicago.suntimes.com/feature/a-generation-of-college-students-buried-in-debt/]  One person called his situation, “the stink of debt.”  You could be one of them.  Really!

Too many of us desperately want a college degree because it might improve our situation.  We know about student loan debt, but we close our ears and eyes to the statistics and the experiences of others.  We borrow as much as we can thinking we’ll pay it off when we get a job.  But…what if we can’t find a job after graduation?  Maybe the job pays only enough to pay living expenses and there’s nothing left to pay student loan debt.

Parents Burdened by Student Loan Debt

“Student loan debt…crushing the financial futures of the parents who cosigned for their kids.” [https://moneyish.com/heart/parents-tell-moneyish-how-their-kids-student-loan-debt-is-destroying-their-finances-too/]  One mother said, “it’s emotionally draining.”  Parents who co-sign on a private student loan with their child are a co-borrower.  The parent is also responsible for repaying the loan should the child become unable to repay it.

Optimized-USNewsCrushingRealtyofParentPLUSLoansimageFor some parents, the Parent PLUS loan is in addition to their own student loan debt.  Parents borrow the PLUS one year at a time and haven’t planned for borrowing for the four or more years that their child will be in college.  If a parent borrowed $20,000 for the first year multiplied by the four years the child takes to get a degree totals $80,000. [https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/family-finance/articles/2018-02-12/the-problem-with-plus-how-parents-buckle-under-the-weight-of-college-debt]

A Debt-Free Life = A Better Life

In the Chicago Sun Times article, Judith Ruiz said, “If I didn’t have student loans, I could be doing so much more with my life.” In the Moneyish article, mother, Susan Zambo said, “I feel like there is a rock around my neck.”

You can have a college degree without student loan debt.  You deserve it!  Why can’t you have a degree, a great job and be able to buy a house, a new car, start a family, or go on a luxury cruise.  There is a way to avoid student loan debt and get a college degree.

Share my blog with your friends and family.

Gail Sasao

eMail:  gail@MyMoneyPlan4College.com

Web:  MyMoneyPlan4College.com

How are you planning to pay for your child’s college expenses? Credit card? Student Loans? 401(k)?

architecture building campus college

Did you know…

College costs rise annually causing students to borrow more loans.  More and more students are graduating from college with student loan debt.  Forbes reported that “student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category—behind only mortgage debt.”

“The percentage of borrowers who owe $50,000 or more has tripled”, says CNBC.

Loan debt makes it difficult to buy a home, a new car, start a family, or save for emergencies.

Parents with Additional Debt

Parents are burdened by parent loan debt or withdrew from retirement savings to pay for their child’s college costs that only delays their retirement.

CNBC mentioned that “the average parent borrows $21,000 in student loans for their children’s education…  The debt comes as these parents are approaching retirement and it is on top of the loans students take out to pay for their own education.”

Government Reducing Aid

Annually, the government cuts funding appropriated for education, so less students qualify for grants.  Instead students are borrowing more student loans to cover the costs.  Student loans with the interest subsidized by the government are being phased out.  This means that there will soon be no interest-free loans for students.  The interest rate is market-based or based on the economy.  Currently, the interest rate for the undergraduate Direct Loan is 4.45%, which is higher than the mortgage interest rate.

In addition, the current administration wants to cut the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.  This means that people who work in public service won’t be able to have some of their student loans canceled.

A Debt-Free Way to Pay for College

Did you know there’s a better way?  You don’t have to borrow loans to pay for college.  Parents don’t have to borrow loans or withdraw from their retirement account to pay for college.

Share my blog with your friends and family.

Gail Sasao

eMail:  gail@MyMoneyPlan4College.com

Web:  MyMoneyPlan4College.com