Only contribute to your kids' college if you meet these 4 conditions:

1. You've paid off all your credit card debt.

2. You have a 3 month savings cushion.

3. You're on track toward having a financially secure retirement.

4. You own a home. It's OK if you're still paying off your mortgage.

The best way to save for your kids' college is by using a 529 investment account. These accounts allow you to invest your money while getting some amazing tax breaks. 

 

1. Open a 529 college savings account at Fidelity.

2. Put 100% of the investments into: Total Market Index Portfolio

3. Setup an automatic recurring transfer of $____/mo from your checking account to the Fidelity 529 account.

The way 529 accounts work make it advantageous to put more money in up-front rather than a little bit of money every month. If you happen to have lots of money laying around that you don't need, dump it into your kids' 529 early.

If you transfer $300/mo into a 529 account when your kid is born, it’ll cover most of a 4-year public university.

 

If you transfer $30,000 into a 529 account just once when your kid is born, it’ll cover most of a 4-year public university.

 

Use this calculator to play around with different contribution amounts and scenarios.