Baby Step #5: Save for your kids' college
College isn't for everyone, but if you have children headed in that direction, AND you feel you want to contribute, saving for college is Baby Step #5 according to Dave Ramsey.
The key is that you don't want to derail your own financial plan. As they say, retirement IS coming your way so you don't want to have well-educated children that you are relying on as your retirement plan! There are also ways to make college less expensive. Here are some of those ways:
1. Start at a community college. It's possible to get a lot of the general education requirements out of the way here and then transfer to a 4-year school, if a 4-year degree is the goal.
2. Kids can work. Go figure! They can work summers while in high school, and summers AND during college. College isn't that demanding where they can't hold a part time job.
3. Grants and scholarships. Apply early and often! We're not talking about student loans here but you may need to fill out the FAFSA form in order to get in line for numerous grants. Talk with the high school counselor for assistance with these ideas.
If you have the means and the desire to help your kids through college, that's fantastic. Just make sure you are being smart about it and teaching them good financial values along the way.