Contain college costs

58. Keep your hands off your 401(k). When college costs hit, that juicy 401(k) looks tempting. Resist.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management crunched the price: Save a steady 8% from age 25 (with a salary of $30,000 that rises 2% a year), and you could have $1.3 million at 65 (based on 1973 to 2012 returns). Take a $10,000 loan at 33 for a home, a $10,000 loan at 50 for college, and make a $10,000 early withdrawal at 62, and that drops to $930,000.

59. Be sure your kids graduate on time. Budgeting for them to finish in four years? Most students take five or six. "At many schools the credit level for full-time enrollment is less than you need to graduate in four years," says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of

To avoid spending $18,000 (public college) to $40,000 (private) for an extra year (or two), check that your child is carrying the max course load, or suggest summer community college classes.

Related: How much will college really cost?

60. Go easy on the school loans. Saying no to your kid is hard, which may explain why parent PLUS loan balances have doubled over the past 10 years. But taking out lots of those loans, which carry a 7.9% rate, can be risky.

"If you have to resort to PLUS loans to pay for college, it's probably a sign you can't afford the college," says Kantrowitz. A good rule of thumb: Don't borrow more than you can repay within 10 years or by retirement, whichever is first.

  @Money - Last updated April 17 2013 05:24 PM ET
Join the Conversation
Best moves if you're 25 to 34

Just starting out? Now's the time to create a solid plan for investing and saving.

Find Homes for sale
  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
    New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
    Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.