Recent Posts

Watch Out for Hidden College Expenses

September 28, 2017
FinLife

rsz_istock-636199580.jpgCongratulations, you did it! You have successfully raised a college-bound child. I’m sure you’ve been doing quite a bit of math lately, calculating what tuition will cost when you factor in scholarships, savings, etc. You’ve made a list, you’ve checked it what seems like a million times… but what are you forgetting? As the parent of a college student, I’m here to tell you about a few costs you might have overlooked.

 

Housing

Rent seems pretty straightforward: you pay the sticker price on the dorm, apartment, or house, and that’s it… right? Maybe not. You must also factor in utilities, furniture, and other supplies for your newly-independent child. Additionally, you must consider how these items are getting to and from school—do you need a trailer? Are you bringing them home over the summer, or will you need to pay to rent a storage space? These are all questions to consider early on, but keep an eye out for sales right before summer break. Apartment complexes and storage units often slash their prices at the end of the year because they’re desperate to fill up spaces.

Food

Ah, the memories of a freshman dorm. For most, the memories are fond, but we would never return. Freshman living is marked by tiny rooms, community bathrooms, and dining hall food. If your student is living in a dorm, they most likely have an expensive meal plan since there will be no kitchen available for them to use.  In order to make sure your money is being spent wisely, talk to your child about how often they should be eating outside of the dining halls.

If your child is living in an apartment or house, they have the opportunity to buy their own groceries and cook their meals. However, college is a busy time, and they might not always feel like cooking. Most universities offer cheaper dining plans if you’re willing to look for them—for example, my daughter’s plan only covers lunches and she makes her own dinner each day. Figure out what’s best for your child, their schedule, and (most importantly) your wallet.

Transportation

If your child is attending the college right down the street, you can go ahead and skip this one. However, if they attend a school in another zip code, you’re about to incur several hefty costs. Flights aren’t cheap, and gas prices will continue to fluctuate. When you move them to their new home, you’ll take multiple cars or even a trailer full of furniture. They will come home during school breaks, and you’ll want to go visit them (which most likely includes the cost of a hotel stay). There’s a lot of back-and-forth that needs to be accounted for, because it adds up quickly if you’re not anticipating it.

Textbooks

Believe it or not, the textbook industry is worth more than $10 billion. I know, I didn’t believe it at first either… until I saw the price tags in my daughter’s school bookstore. Fortunately for you, there are a lot of options to cut the cost of required reading: sites like Chegg or even Amazon will rent out their used textbooks for a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, however, more and more colleges are requiring “download codes” for online study materials that can cost hundreds of dollars. These can’t be ordered from secondhand sites, but you can still avoid the needless markup of university bookstores by renting hard-copy books from somewhere else.

Time

At this point you may be worried about how your college costs might derail your retirement plans. We do have to remember, however, that it is not just about the money. All parents react differently to starting their lives as empty nesters. Some rejoice, some cry, and some do both. But all parents will inevitably miss their children… and all children will eventually miss their parents. Make sure to set aside time to call your kids. Reserve some space on the calendar to attend their school’s Homecoming or Parents’ Weekend. If you have a free afternoon, offer to come visit for the day and take them to lunch. Lend a patient ear when they ask your advice about something that seems insignificant—they miss you, and they value your input. They might be “adults” now, but they’ll always love dear Mom and Dad.

United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC (United Capital) provides financial guidance and makes recommendations based on the specific needs and circumstances of each client. For clients with managed accounts, United Capital has discretionary authority over investment decisions. Investing involves risk and clients should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. The information contained in this blog is intended for information only, is not a recommendation, and should not be considered investment advice. Please contact your financial adviser with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. This blog is a sponsored blog created or supported by United Capital and its employees, organization or group of organizations. This blog does not accept any form of advertising, sponsorship, or paid insertions. Certain authors of our blog posts may be influenced by their background, occupation, religion, political affiliation or experience. It is important to note that the views and opinions expressed on this blog are that of the owner, and not necessarily United Capital Financial Advisers. As a Registered Investment Adviser, United Capital does not allow any testimonials on their blog, and any comments deemed as such United Capital will remove.

United Capital does not offer tax or legal advice; therefore all articles should not be taken as such. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. All referenced entities in this site are separate and unrelated to United Capital. Any references to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by United Capital.

  • Adam Vega
  • 5073439643
    Adam Vega, CFP®, empowers high net-worth individuals by guiding them to making informed and measured financial decisions. He specializes in the financial needs of doctors, successful business owners, and aviation professionals.

    Follow Adam Vega On Social Media

  • Byron Ellis
  • 4089286150
    Byron is the Managing Director of The Woodlands, TX division of United Capital Financial Advisers, and a well-known financial educator. In addition to helping families with their financial life management, Byron is a weekly columnist that has the ability to turn complex topics into clear and interesting essays.

    Follow Byron Ellis On Social Media

  • Cary Carbonaro
  • 4098851980
    Cary is a Managing Director of NY/NJ and Clermont, FL. She is a Nationally Known Personal Finance Expert. She is an Ambassador for the CFP Board. Her bestselling book, “The Money Queens Guide For Woman Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear” was listed in the Top 10 of Books that Make You Rich by Daily. She is a passionate female advocate and teaches yoga in her spare time.

    Follow Cary Carbonaro On Social Media

  • Gail Graham
  • 1728393301
    Gail is the Chief Marketing Officer of United Capital and a champion for changing the way financial services meets the needs of people and their families.

    Follow Gail Graham On Social Media

  • Gene Balas
  • 4224920385
    Gene is a portfolio manager in United Capital's Investment Management Department. Gene began his career in 1989 and is a Chartered Financial Analyst with an MBA from Columbia University. His passion outside of work is weightlifting.

    Follow Gene Balas On Social Media

  • Heather Kelly
  • 4102907483
    Heather is the Vice President of Risk Management and a Chartered Financial Consultant at United Capital. She has been in the insurance industry more than 20 years and is a continual student of the industry. She was the first ever young professional to receive the ATHENA Award, that recognizes women in leadership.
  • Heidi S. Hirsh
  • 4710956733
    Heidi Hirsh is a Wealth Manager with more than 20 years of industry experience in Social Security strategy planning. As a Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP) she currently specializes in creating retirement income plans for individuals and families in both the pre- and post-retirement stages of life.

    Follow Heidi S. Hirsh On Social Media

  • Jarrod Upton
  • 4186235370
    Jarrod is the AVP of Guidance and Financial Planning at United Capital. He is responsible for developing and advancing financial guidance initiative. Jarrod is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER with a Master of Science in Financial Planning and a MBA from Texas Tech University. Follow him on twitter: @jarrodupton

    Follow Jarrod Upton On Social Media

  • Joe Duran
  • 3886045440

    Follow Joe Duran On Social Media

  • Kathleen Grace
  • 4516059074
    Kathleen Grace, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(CFP®) professional, Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®), is a Managing Director at United Capital. She advises affluent families, Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, and institutions throughout the country on all facets of financial planning, helping them chart a financial course with the goal of lifetime wealth creation. She is also the author of international best-seller, Prince Not So Charming®, a financial planning novel.

    Follow Kathleen Grace On Social Media

  • Konrad Brown
  • 5030478835
    Konrad Brown's professional mission is to help each client spend more time doing what makes their life worth living. As a Wealth Adviser, Konrad works closely with physicians, entrepreneurs, business owners, and families to pair them with financial strategies to achieve the goal of effectively and efficiently preserving their financial security, legacy and lifestyle.The key to providing elite service is fundamentally understanding a client's unique circumstances and tailoring a comprehensive financial plan that may help them maintain their wealth and achieve their financial goals.
  • Robert Wolfe
  • 4152274112
    Robert is a Managing Director and NFLPA Registered Player Financial Advisor. He specializes in the design and implementation of wealth management strategies for professional sport executives, athletes, physicians, and entrepreneurs.

    Follow Robert Wolfe On Social Media

  • Stan Corey
  • 4074171202
    Stan Corey is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional (CFP®), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA). His career in financial services spans over thirty-five years. As a sought-after expert, Stan regularly provides financial commentary at national conferences, in print and online publications, and on TV. He has appeared in USA Today, Working Women magazine, MONEY, Northern Virginia Magazine and Good Housekeeping. Stan has published a novel which is a case study on a divorcing couple. You can go to www.divorcedance.com to get more information.
  • United Capital
  • 1648262852
    Our goal is to improve lives. We help people make sound financial decisions aligned with their goals. If you’d like to stay in touch with us feel free to follow us on social media.

    Follow United Capital On Social Media

Byron Ellis

Written by Byron Ellis

Byron is the Managing Director of The Woodlands, TX division of United Capital Financial Advisers, and a well-known financial educator. In addition to helping families with their financial life management, Byron is a weekly columnist that has the ability to turn complex topics into clear and interesting essays.

Follow Byron Ellis On Social Media

investing
taxes
retirement