News & Insights

  • Back to school means it’s time to save

    Andrew Stern
    August 2017

    While it is arguably the best time to be on the east end of Long Island with the sun still shining brightly and the local farms bursting with their harvest, our attention begins to refocus away from the joys of a glorious summer. The traffic has given way to yellow school buses as our children return to their classrooms. This is the perfect reminder to parents about the need to plan for the costs of higher education.

    According to a recent study conducted by the US Department of Education, the average cost (tuition/ room & board) of one year at a public university is north of $30,000 and a private institution is approximately $45,000. Consider also that these costs have grown over the last decade at an average annual rate of 5%, far outpacing both inflation and wage growth. This means that for my twin boys entering Second Grade this year, when they reach college age it is likely that the cost of one year at public school will be over $57,000. One year of tuition at a private university may reach close to $75,000. These are daunting figures.
    The costs associated with obtaining a college degree might seem discouraging, but they are important to know and understand. Regardless of one’s financial condition, the best results are often achieved when a plan is initiated at the earliest possible stage. With that said, it is never too late to start planning.

    For parents of young children, 529 plans have become popular tools to save for education. These state sponsored plans offer tax advantages and are even transferrable among family members. Education Saving Accounts also offer certain tax benefits, but differ from 529 plans in their contribution limits. Student loans too, are an important tool, but come with a cost. The burden of carrying debt for a young adult entering the work force handicaps their path toward financial independence, a goal every parent has for their children. Merit and performance based scholarships and financial aid packages may also play a role in covering some of the costs of college, but cannot be guaranteed and should not be fully relied upon. Other strategies to set aside money for education exist and vary in their complexity and have benefits and limitations all their own.

    Because every family and every child is unique, with their own set of values, expectations and objectives; it is crucial to take an honest and thoughtful approach to saving for higher education. Starting early may ease the burden as parents can take advantage of opportunities and programs specifically designed for this purpose. Parents and others who are thinking about funding education expenses should try to be as informed as possible and carefully consider both their options and their own financial situation and future objectives when deciding on appropriate levels to set aside for education costs.

    Watching my kids paddle out to the lineup at Ditch Plains with the warmth of summer still lingering in the air, it is fun to dream about one of them getting a full ride to college on a surfing scholarship, if there even is such a thing. I think instead I will add a little money to their 529 plans and make sure they do their homework.

    Andrew Stern is a Managing Partner at YorkBridge Wealth Partners, LLC. YorkBridge Wealth Partners has offices in New York City and Bridgehampton, NY. Visit for more information or email
    The information contained in this document is based on data received from third parties which we believe to be reliable and accurate. YorkBridge Wealth Partners, LLC is, has not independently verified the information and does not otherwise give any warranty as to the truth, accuracy, or completeness of such third party data, and it should not be relied upon as such. Any opinions expressed herein are our current opinions only. YorkBridge Wealth Partners, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”). Registration of an investment advisor does not imply any specific level of skill or training. The information contained in this document is to assist with general planning. Please consult with your own tax advisor and attorney for more specific information.
Skip to content