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The cost of college is completely out of control. Every year, the cost to attend a 4-year university increases by twice the inflation rate. To put it in some more personal terms, by the time my 5-year old little girl goes to undergrad, we’ll need around $200,000 to make a 4-year in-state university a reality. Did I mention I have two kids?!
The other major crisis affecting our country right now is the massive amount of student loan debt we all have. According to Time in 2016, more than two-thirds of college grads graduated with debt, and their average debt at graduation was about $35,000. According to that article, this number will be tripling in the next two decades.
In 2014, US News and World Report said that the average bachelor’s degree holder takes 21 years to pay off their student loans. 21 years! So not only are we strapped with huge debt, but we’re strapped with it for a long time.
What is a young parent to do?
Last month, we chatted with Jocelyn Paonita about her ability to earn $126,000 in scholarships and get a free ride through college. Scholarships are one part of the solution.
We can also encourage our children to work and pay for college. I’m going through a challenge this month to get my daughter to understand how hard work equals reward through the development of a chore system.
Outside of scholarships and working during high school and college, a 529 savings plancan be a huge piece of the puzzle. If you’re not familiar with 529s, these are tax advantaged investments accounts that allow people like us to save up for our kiddos to go to college in the future. The key is to start early so you can take advantage of compound interest. You also need to contribute consistently so the account grows over time.
My guest today is a 529 champion. Wayne Weber is the CEO of a company called Gift of College. This company provides college savings gift cards that act like a gift registry (much like a wedding or baby shower registry, but it’s for college). These cards can be used for both 529 college savings and for paying down student loan debt.
Wayne started this company to help bring awareness to 529s and to make it easier for people to give the gift of college to friends and family. The company has become so successful that you can now buy these physical gift cards at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide.
What are we covering today?
On the show today, Wayne and I discuss:
- How the Gift of College process works
- The importance of early 529 savings
- The state of the student debt crisis
- Where the future of college is going
If you love someone with student loans or someone who wants to go to college someday, take a listen to today’s show. You can be a part of the solution for this major student debt crisis.
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Guest Bio: Wayne Weber
Wayne Weber is CEO and Founder of GiftofCollege.com. He is passionate about providing families a simple and easy way to save for college tuition – bringing change to a complex process. Since 2008, Wayne has developed Gift of College into a social savings platform for parents, friends and communities with the aim of establishing the company as the leading gifting platform for college savings plans. GiftofCollege.com builds innovations and technologies that encourage the awareness, use and growth of college savings investment plans. Wayne has built significant partnerships across the industry to ensure that GiftofCollege.com supports not only the needs of the investor but also meets the high standards of the investing community.
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Carpe Diem Quote
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” -Benjamin Franklin