The magic number for college savings

Joseph HurleyBy: Joseph HurleyBy: | 
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The day finally arrives when you get to bring your new baby home from the hospital. Maybe you've already given some thought to saving for her college education. If not, you can be sure that one of your friends will remark in a joking sort of way that paying for college in 18 years could put you in the poorhouse. So you ask yourself how much you really should be putting away for each month to prepare.

You don't necessarily need a 100% solution

You shouldn't try to save for 100% of the published price at an Ivy League school, even when you know in your heart that's where your exceptional child is headed. A realistic goal for many families is to aim to save 25% of projected college expenses. Of course, this amount will vary depending on the type of school your child plans to (and realistically will be able to) attend.

So what's the magic number? We used our World's Simplest College Calculator and data from the College Board to find out:

RELATED: 5 habits of successful college savers

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Joseph Hurley

Joseph Hurley

CPA, Founder

Joe Hurley launched in 1999 while working as a tax CPA in Rochester, New York. He wrote and self-published the book 'The Best Way to Save for College--A Complete Guide to 529 Plans', now in its eleventh edition with over 100,000 copies sold. Through the years Joe and his wife Ginny opened accounts with 529 plans in 34 states for their two children, both of whom are now graduated from college. (The reason for so many different accounts was to facilitate research of 529 plans.) Joe now spends his full-time at Kettle Ridge Farm (maple syrup, honey, and shiitake mushrooms), though you may still see him occasionally at