Letters for 09-11-2014

Let Local Banks Help Pay Tuition
September marks not only a new school year, but also National College Savings Month — a perfect time for families to open a college savings account or bolster one that has already begun.
A recent national study from renowned educational finance service company Sallie Mae revealed that, despite the cost of college, fewer families are appropriately saving. In the past two years, the percentage of families saving for college has dropped from 60 percent to 50 percent.
Elliot Hutchinson, with Community Trust Bank, offered to share several successful savings tips — some of which include the following:
• Create a plan for college and be cost conscious. From locating scholarships to identifying alternative funding sources to managing your money, there are various planning mechanisms available to help plan the cost of college.  
• Start as early as possible. As the old adage goes, it is never too early to save for a rainy day. Opening a college savings plan for kids can begin even in their toddler years. Accounts opened as early as possible allow for greater contributions over a longer period of time, accruing as children grow older.
• Use tools that grow savings accounts. It helps to investigate the right options to help save in every way possible. For example, a practical way to save while spending is to get set up with a credit or debit card that offers cash-back or savings rewards with each transaction. Thousands can be saved successfully year after year through such programs.
• Put savings accounts on “autopilot.” The simplest advice to families looking to the future is to make saving both automatic and involuntary. Setting up an auto-draft for a specific amount and time period takes the stress and maintenance out of the process. Establish a monthly contribution that goes straight from a paycheck into a savings account and watch it grow.
In addition to these insightful tips, many local banks offer a full suite of savings options. Each bank has a team of experts readily available to provide personalized assistance and recommendations for customers and prospective accountholders.