Post-secondary education does not and should not look the same for everyone.  We’ve arrived at a place in society where we look at college as the “natural next step” after high school and many students are feeling pressure to go to college simply because they think it’s the expectation of their parents or their only path to success.  These circumstances often lead to an arbitrary approach to choosing a college and paying for it contributing to the $1.6 trillion in student loan debt we have nationally (according to the Federal Reserve as of June 2019). 

The truth is Trade and Vocational Schools are becoming more and more accessible and producing jobs that are more and more in demand.  And there are a variety of alternative education and entrepreneurial opportunities becoming available as an alternative to college or universities.  This does not mean everyone should opt out of a college education or that these other education paths do not have costs as well.  It does mean you should take your time when making this decision, research and evaluate all options and fully understand your financial obligations and expectations.

Taking on college or post-secondary education debt can be as big of an undertaking as taking on a mortgage.  When you get a mortgage however, you qualify based on the income you have.  When you get a student loan, you qualify based on the income the loan company and you think you will have once you get your degree and the payments come due.  This is why it is critical to understand what you are paying for, how much you are paying and how paying off that debt will affect your financial future. 

Things to research and consider when choosing a college:

  • 4-year graduation rate of the college
  • Room and board expenses
  • Travel home expenses
  • Grants or merit scholarships you may qualify for
  • Ability to take on a job while in school
  • Market potential for your chosen career

One of the ways to keep post-secondary education expenses under control is to start saving for the expense when your children are young.  If you start saving in the first year of your child’s life you will have 17+ years to grow and contribute to that money. 

There are a variety of investment vehicles you can use to save for post-secondary education in a tax-advantaged way and at Pulse Financial we address your funding needs and goals and help determine the best solution for you.

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