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The decision on whether to go to college or not has a lot of implications in several areas of your life but it mainly affects your career progression and financial situation.

There isn’t anyone out there that can make the decision for you on if you want to go to college. Unfortunately many public schools and otherwise lead many students to believe that college is the only thing after high-school and that’s just not true. The choice to go to college is only one of many pathways a person can take as they build their finances and establish a career.

Your Guide to Planning & Paying for College

Saving for College

Anything you can save for college you should and parents should be taking advantage of some education plans (like the 529 plan) to help their kids attend college. However, you don’t and shouldn’t go into debt trying to afford college. If you’re trying to get through college without paying for loans expect to save at least $30,000 before your child attends college, more if their college cost over $20-25,000 per year to attend.

Paying for College

There are several ways to pay for college and if your parents have been active in saving you may be able to go to college without having to take out student loans. The goal is to pay for college without needing student loans or at least keeping your student loan balances at the lowest they can be.

Student Loans

The fundamental way students, and parents, pay for college is to take out student loans. As a parent, you shouldn’t be taking out loans for your child as it will set back your retirement for years. As a student, you should be careful taking out loans as it locks you in for 10 or more years paying hundreds of dollars per month. The average student loan payment is around $400 and lasts for 10 years or more.