Friday, October 27, 2006

State Versus Private: Which Is The Better Buy

The decision on whether to go to a state or private college is still quite a ways off for me, but the finances involved make for a big decision. Since I'm planning to have all my college funding saved by the time I turn 18, if I choose to go to a college that is less expensive, I will have money left over to begin my life once out of college. I will have to seriously weight the benefits of both options to see what is best.

I started thinking about this from an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Sending a child to a prestigious school is a real accomplishment. But lots of happy and successful people have come out of the state schools. At less than one-third the cost, maybe they're a better buy.

Free Teens and Money Kit

Talking with my uncle (okay, it really isn't talking yet, but I am blurting out words now and then), I realized that not all kids are lucky enough to have banks in their area or museums to help them learn money skills. If that is the case, you can get some help from the government. The Federal Citizen Information Center offers a free "Teens and Money" package to help teens learn about important money information:

The older your children get, the more they have to deal with real-world challenges like saving money, getting car insurance, and managing credit cards. Help them get ready for adult life with the Teens and Money package.

Order Your Free Package Here

Money Museum Field Trip

It is not only at the bank where kids like me can learn about how money works. The Children’s Museum of Cleveland (CMC) is launching a new financial literacy school field-trip program to introduce first and second grade school children key money management lessons. CMC’s “Money, My Community and Me” program will also be offered to museum visitors and CMC members as part of its family learning initiative. “Money, My Community and Me” is aimed at helping Cleveland-area students begin to grasp the concepts of financial literacy, budgeting and saving.

According to a A.G. Edwards survey, only about one in four U.S. children (27 percent) have learned about saving and investing through their schools. In addition, more than half of U.S. parents with children in the home have not discussed saving or investing with their children.

The museum field trip will teach:

  • The basics of earning money as a “member of the community”

  • How to make choices about spending and saving, through the use of play money and a trip through the “Bridges to Our Community” permanent exhibit area that consists of a bank, grocery store, gas station, bus, hospital and home.

  • The impact of their spending and saving choices on both immediate purchases and long-term financial goals

    The program at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland is also being set up at 17 children’s museums across the country which I hope will help other younf kids like me learn more about money at a young age.
  • Banking Skills At A Young Age

    I think it's always good when children are encouraged to learn about money, saving and interest. The earlier the better. I have been happy to read about more banks setting up programs for children like this one mentioned in The Signal:

    Hundreds of children throughout the Santa Clarita Valley have been getting hands-on practice saving money through a community youth project run by parents through local schools.

    Elementary students are able to open an account for only 25 cents through Washington Mutual's School Savings program, and every other deposit - no matter how small - earns a prize.

    It would be great to see all communities set up similar programs with banks in their area...

    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    Parents Under Estimating College Aid Their Kids Will Get

    My uncle just read to me about a new study which says that parents are under-estimating the amount of aid their kids will qualify for when they attend college. According to an article at

    The study found that 87 percent of parents believe scholarships and grants will cover at least part of their children's undergraduate expenses, and nearly three-quarters think their children are "special or unique" enough to win a scholarship.

    Financial aid administrators said 92 percent of parents overestimate the amount of scholarship money their children will receive...

    This is another reason it pays to start saving for college early. While I will try and get all the aid and scholarships that I can to help pay for college, i want these to supplement what I have saved so I can choose the best way to pay for the education. I'm learning early that getting organized early and saving opens up a lot of opportunities and will give me much more flexibility when it comes to my college education. I hope everyone reading takes the same steps...

    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    Net Worth Update - September 2006

    I finally settled on what to do with all the money that was sitting in cash. I moved $2600.00 to a S&P 500 Index Fund Account for the time being. It isn't in a 529 plan for the time being because we aren't sure what state we will be living in and I can't receive any tax benefits from it for now. We will address that issue when I know where in the US I'll be staying. Another issue is that I have heard that the grandparents have also started college funds and if this is the case, it might be better to have this money not have to go toward education.

    There was a bit of change in the numbers of my ING account. The one that I had been using has been taken over by my mom to use for other saving purposes for me and I am now using the one with my uncle. That means the balance has decreased a bit, but the difference went into my cash account.

    As noted in the post before, my blog is now generating just over $200 a month in advertising. That will grow my income by 4%+ per month for the near future which I think is an excellent pace. I'm still considering with my uncle other possible ways to generate some money to pad my account a bit more.

    I'm still on a good track and hope to continue along as I have been.