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Financial Education

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Strive for Parents

How to start college savings

Financial aid, scholarships, loans—oh my! Preparing for the expense of a college education isn't easy, but by planning ahead, it certainly can become more manageable.

The first step toward college savings is setting a goal. You can never start too early, as the earlier you start saving the more time your money has to grow. No matter when you start, it's important to establish a plan to help keep you on track, whatever life may bring.

There are many tools and resources available to help you establish a plan that's right for you.

To help you get started, NBT Bank offers an online College Savings Calculator to help guide your monthly savings plan.

Keeping the results of these calculations in mind will help you select the products, services and habits that will make those numbers achieveable.

If you have trouble setting money aside for such a long-term goal, you may decide that automatic payroll deductions or automatic transfers from your checking to savings accounts are the best way for you to start saving for college tuition or related expenses.

And remember, NBT Bank is here to help. We can help you select the bank products and services to best suit your savings needs. We can also point you toward other resources to support your saving goals.

Some other resources to help you start a college savings fund, and stay on track, include:

  • State "529" Plans: An education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families set aside funds to future college costs, offering tax and potentially other incentives.
  • Coverdell Education Savings Account: An account created as an incentive to help parents and students save for education expenses. Distributions from this savings account to a beneficiary (your child) are tax-free as long as they are used for qualified education expenses, such as tuition and fees, required books, supplies and equipment, and qualified expenses for room and board.
  • Certificates of Deposit, Zero Coupon Bonds and other short- and long-term savings options: Available at your local bank for any savings goal to accumulate a specific amount of money by a certain date.

Stop by your local NBT Bank office today to discuss all of the options at your fingertips!