Saving for school can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be if you take the steps early and know your options.

On April 13, 206, Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in the final game of the season for the NBA’s hapless Los Angeles Lakers. This was significant for several reasons: no one had scored more than 59 points in the 2015-2016 NBA regular season, until Bryant topped that number. The more significant reason, Bryant retired from basketball immediately following the game. He will retire after a 20 year career that will, among other things, rank him 3rd all-time in scoring. Kobe Bryant was 17 years old when he co-signed his first contract, which pulled him straight from High School to the Lakers. In 2004, the NBH made it mandatory for all High School seniors to attend at least one year of college. These stories are most definitely the exception and not the rule. The path to fame and fortune, or even just a happy and comfortable life is different for everyone. For the majority of us in order to be eligible for the best jobs, an undergraduate degree is the bare minimum we must have to pursue the best quality of life for ourselves and family.

The average college semester costs between $1,000 and $10,000. That’s just for 6 months of schooling! Listed below are popular ways to pay for college:


  • 529 Savings Plan
    • Federally sponsored
    • Savings can grow tax free – if you use the funds for qualified education expenses
    • Offered by most financial institutions
    • Drawback: if your child doesn’t attend college the interest is taxable at standard tax rates


  • Coverdells
    • Similar tax benefits as 529 Savings Plan
    • Can be used for elementary or high school education
    • Offered by most financial institutions
    • Drawback: maximum contribution per child per year is $2,000


  • Scholarships
    • Offered by local clubs or businesses like: Rotary, Kiwanis or Co-Ops
    • Opportunity to subsidize college education
    • Have to apply and meet guidelines set up by those offering the scholarship
    • Best resource: High School guidance counselors


  • Student Loans
    • Offered by banks or the federal government
    • Must be applied for using FAFSA (
    • Drawback: must be paid back at higher interest rates


Many current and former players have gone back to school in the offseason to earn their degree. Perhaps Kobe Bryant will do the same as he moves into retirement. In a day and age where this significant accomplishment can make the difference in literally hundreds of thousands of dollars earned over a lifetime, start early and contribute heavily to savings accounts, 529 plans, Coverdells or even a jar you bury in the backyard! We are all afforded the opportunity to pursue higher education, it is not promised to us. “If it were easy, everyone would do it! It’s the hard that makes it great!” – Tom Hanks