As a parent, do you think you are smart pre-paying your kid's Illinois college tuition? As if maintaining your own personal finances wasn't bad enough, our next generation of college students entering the next level of education are facing their fair share of tough times...along with their parents.
Crain's Business reported that Illinois has THE MOST underfunded prepaid college tuition plan of any in the country. Do you think the increase in Illinois state-income tax will funnel towards making these college plans whole? Don't hold your breath.
Planning for retirement is one thing. It may seem that reaching these golden years are waaaaaay in the distant future. But, if you have kids between grade, middle, junior and high school...you are extremely close to making the second largest financial decision(s) in your life - helping your child plan for the expense of a college education.
The question is, what do you do now, right? Where do you go from here? OR, is getting a college education even worth it, considering that the average college student is graduating with an average of $23k+ in debt...within a very difficult job market?
Here my two cents: Approaching college for your children is like making a WISE business decision. Getting emotional about sending your child to your alma mater may not exactly be the right fit for your child's skills, abilities, talent and passion.
Have early discussions with your child and impart upon them the seriousness of their grades. In fact, grades can convert to scholarships from the colleges THEMSELVES for high ACT scores, grants and student work programs that can significantly reduce the yearly expense of a college education.
In other words, planning for college is a two-way street between parents and their kids (students). TEAMWORK will make the dream work...otherwise you can follow my footsteps and have your kid JOIN THE MARINES.
No college debt, here baby. GI BILL and Illinois Veterans Grant all the way...
Stay posted for a free, college planning workshop I will be conducting during Chicago's Money Smart Week April 2-9, 2011. And if you haven't done so already, you can download FREE financial podcasts on iTunes by searching for - Money Smart Show.