A 529 plan isn't your only option for saving for college

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT/SWD) - The cost of a higher education is only going up. A growing number of parents and grandparents are turning accounts designed to help them save for a student's education.

Many people have heard of a 529 college savings account. Matt Dicken, a financial expert at Strategic Wealth Designers, says a new thing about 529's is the plans have expanded to K-12 as opposed to the account holder only being able to use the funds for college. This allows for greater flexibility.

While a 529 plan may be the most recognized, there are alternatives. To have a more liquid option and a potential for greater grown, Dicken suggests building an aggressive portfolio like a tech stock portfolio.

There are different tax implications on different strategies, so Dickens says you do need to consider what makes the most sense for whom you are helping. Specific interests would be the age of the child, what their interests are and how their plans in life are shaping up. If it doesn't appear college is going to be for them, that will change your strategy for saving.

Unfortunately, affording college tuition is becoming harder and harder. Dicken says inflation is only part of the rising costs.

As more people attend college, universities are trying to see how much they can charge without hurting enrollment. Dicken says there's a couple of ways to reduce the cost. One way is to start off at a community college and then transfer to a larger school after two years. Maybe working while in school is another option. Even if it takes a semester or two longer to graduate, Dicken says there will potentially be less student loan debt.

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