College should be considered a lifetime investment rather than just a four-year expense. It requires financial planning and personal sacrifices. The earlier you start saving and investing, the less money you will have to save and invest later.
Furthermore, the earlier you start saving, the less risk you'll have to take in your investment choices because long-term investing generally carries less risk.
There are many investment alternatives suitable for college savings. Here is a partial list of some such investments:
No matter what type of investor you are, it is important to keep your plan on track. Revisit your asset allocation periodically (every year or two, depending on market conditions) and see whether it needs adjustment. You should also periodically re-examine your risk tolerance and investment profile, especially as you get closer to your goal. You may discover you need to tweak your portfolio’s risk exposure over time.
When you start organizing your portfolio you will want to consider how you will be spending your money after you retire. Some money will be deposited directly into your checking account; such as Social Security where as other income could be less predictable. It is always nice to get extra income you are not counting on but you must not plan on this.
Many home buyers search for a home they want, then apply for a mortgage and hope for the best. A better approach is to find out how much mortgage you can qualify for, then look at homes that you know are within your price range.
You will probably save time, aggravation and money by having your lender tell you the size of mortgage you qualify for and the likelihood that you will be approved. Pre-qualification may also give you added bargaining power with the seller if he knows there will be no delays in closing the deal.
If you have existing retirement assets in a traditional IRA, you may want to consider converting those assets to a Roth IRA. Possible benefits of converting include tax-free distributions at retirement, no required minimum distributions at age 70 ½, and leaving income tax-free assets to your heirs in the event of your death.
Many employers allow their employees to contribute to an annuity program. This becomes an investment option in a salary reduction retirement plan. Under this plan your current taxable salary is reduced and in addition it accumulates tax-deferred earnings. Some companies have added annuities to their retirement list. If you work for a non-profit organization you'll probably be able to choose either a fixed or variable annuity or both. If you have a small business, or work for yourself, you can invest in a qualified annuity by setting up a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) or a Keogh. Many financial plans are available that you can adopt or you can use a specialist to create a plan for you.
Once you have determined that you need life insurance, and calculated how much coverage you require, you will have to choose between several types of life insurance. There are two very different types of life insurance contracts -- term and permanent.