SNHU Highlighted in Higher Ed and Economy Story

Thursday, January 15, 2009

College Investments Hurting As Economy Slides
Experts Say Parents Should Invest Wisely To Build Funds

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Year-end financial statements are bringing the financial crisis home to many people, especially those with education savings funds.

"It definitely brings home the reality of what they've been seeing on TV for the last three months," said financial planner Jean Esslinger of Legacy Financial Solutions.

High school guidance counselor Barbara Naeger said parents are panicking because they hoped to have a healthy college fund for their children.

"If you had a portfolio or some money put away, if it was invested, it's now a third smaller," Naeger said.

Holly Turner, a student at Southern New Hampshire University said the financial struggles of students and their parents are forcing some to transfer.

"This last semester, a lot of friends had to switch to community colleges because their parents couldn't afford the $18,000-a-year tuition," Turner said.

Esslinger said there are steps parents can take. Parents should invest aggressively when children are young, but when they get closer to college, investments should be made more carefully in CDs, bonds and money market funds.

"If you had a child that's within a couple of years of school, you would have no more than 20 percent in an equity position," Esslinger said.

Parents of a college-age student who have hurting investments should with a college planning specialist, Esslinger said. Assets can be repositioned to help children better qualify for financial aid.

"That money is put aside, off the balance sheet for qualifying purposes," she said.

Esslinger said that if a child's heart is set on a particular school, there may be a financial equation to make it work.
Copyright 2009 by WMUR. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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