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Radical Personal Finance

978 EpisodesProduced by Joshua SheatsWebsite

Joshua J Sheats, MSFS, CFP, CLU, ChFC, CASL, CAP, RHU, REBC is a financial planner who teaches people how to live a rich life now while building a plan for financial freedom in 10 years or less. He mixes creative approaches to lifestyle design, deep-dive financial planning techniques, and hard-core … read more


How to Calculate How Much You Need to Save For Your Kid's College RPF0101

Planning for a child's college expenses is a major financial goal for many parents. Unfortunately, this is an area filled with conflicting advice. 

Some people feel that saving for college is a financial goal of utmost importance; others feel it's not worth the money. Many that desire to save for the goal get constantly conflicting advice on whether to do a pre-paid tuition plan, 529 college savings plan, EE education bonds, cash value life insurance policy, or any of a couple other dozen exotic ways to plan for this expense.

Today, we continue our college series by teaching how to do a calculation of the need. I teach you how to use a simple financial calculator and paper and pen and come up with a precise dollar amount to save for.




How to manually do the math for the college need on a financial calculator:

Step 1: Calculate the cost of the first year of college with a simple future value (FV) calculation.

PV = -$20,550 (cost of college today)n = 17 (years between today and first year of college)i = 6% (rate of inflation of college tuition)PMT = 0solve for FVFV = $55,336.48 (cost of college in the first year)

Step 2: Calculate how much money you need to have available when your child is in their first year of college.

PMT = $-55,336.48 (cost of college each year)n = 4 (four years of school attendance)i = 1.89% (inflation-adjusted return: [(1.08 / 1.06)-1] x 100 = 1.89%FV = 0solve for PV (make sure your calculator is in BEGIN mode)PV = $215,262.97 (amount needed in first year for four years' tuition)

Step 3: Calculate how much the parents need to save in either a lump sum (PV) or yearly amount (PMT) or monthly amount (PMT-convert i and n to monthly amounts).

LUMP SUM VERSIONFV = $215,262.97 (amount needed in first year for four years' tuition)n = 17 (years between today and first year of college)i = 8% (rate of return of investment portfolio)PMT = 0solve for PV (if you want a lump sum)PV = $-58,178.90 (lump sum amount needed today to fund the cost)

YEARLY SAVINGS VERSIONFV = $215,262,97 (amount needed in first year for four years' tuition)n = 17 (years between today and first year of college)i = 8% (rate of return of investment portfolio)PV = 0 (current amount of savings)solve for PMT (if you want yearly payment amounts...look for info in a case scenario on whether to use BEGIN mode or END mode)PMT = $-5,905.67 (yearly amount needed to fund the cost)

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