The recession coupled with the rising cost of top colleges and universities has put a squeeze on upper middle class families with college age children. Tuitions have more than doubled since 1985. Meanwhile, median net worth fell 19%.
It’s causing families with incomes in the upper income percentiles—between 80% and 95%—to rethink their choices about schools. They need your help now more than ever.
This Website Is For Financial Professionals Only
The biggest jump in student loan debt between 2007 and 2010 happened in families with incomes ranging from $94,535 to $205,335. That’s right, over $200,000. Those income levels fit right within your clientele. And these are the people who likely are least prepared. Many have not taken advantage of their states’ 529 plans or other 529 programs.
And now they’re stuck. Over one third of families with incomes between $95,000 and $125,000 have not saved or invested specifically with the goal of paying for college. Financial aid programs assist low-income families as much as 36% but they only offer help of around 21% to higher-income families.
So here’s what’s happening. Some are choosing second tier schools instead of insisting on top ones. Others are sending their kids to community colleges until they can get accepted to a top school within their state.
Still others are shifting part of the burden of paying for college to their children. As much as 23% of the burden in 2012 is being paid by students through savings or loans they took out. This figure is up from 14% in 2009.
The Boomer generation is the first to shift this burden to their children. This means two things: first, that we are continuing to burden our children so that they start life with significant debt. This hampers their ability to build sustainable careers as well as their overall quality of life for the future.
Second, it also means that even well-heeled parents may still be paying for top schools, only now at a much higher cost to their retirement savings. There might still be time to ease both of these burdens by reviewing your family clients’ investment strategies.