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Boomer dilemma: Paying for kids’ college, or reducing debt

For boomers who are facing retirement, setting financial

For boomers who are facing retirement, setting financial priorities can mean the difference between golden years and struggle, experts say. Photo Credit: Getty Images iStockphoto / Rawpixel Ltd.

Life is about priorities.

For baby boomers, paying for their kids’ college is a bigger worry than paying off debt — a priority that raises eyebrows among financial planners.

According to a recent survey from SUM180, an online financial planning service, 33 percent of Boomers said paying for college was their number one concern, compared to 22 percent who said paying off debt was the monkey on their back.

Which should come first, paying for college or getting rid of debt?

Put yourself first

“Boomers No. 1 priority should be building their retirement assets. This includes paying down debt and trying to pay off your mortgage by the time you retire. If you reach retirement and don’t have enough assets and income from Social Security and pensions, there are no do-overs. You will be stuck at a lower level of living for the rest of your life,” says Robert Kleinman, a certified financial planner with Kleinman Financial Services in Port Washington.

Be realistic

“Don’t think because retirement is 15 years away you can deal with it later,” says Stephanie Genkin, a certified financial planner in Brooklyn. “If you’re worried about saving for college, planning for retirement, and dealing with debt, speak to an adviser who can create a plan that works for your situation and income.”

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