How to Use Quicken 2010’s College Cost Calculator

By Stephen L. Nelson

If you have a child, you can figure out what to start saving now to put him or her through college. Quicken offers the College Calculator to do the tough part for you (or, at least, the tough calculations — you still have to pony up the money).

1Click the Planning tab, and then click the Financial Calculators button and select College Savings from the pop-up menu that appears.

Quicken displays the College Calculator dialog box.

2In the Annual College Costs text box, enter the current annual costs at a school Junior may attend.

You don’t have to try to predict how those costs will increase over the years (Quicken does that for you).

3Enter the number of years until your child will be ready for college in the Years Until Enrollment text box.

For example, if Junior will start college in 10 years, type 10.

4In the Number Of Years Enrolled text box, enter a number.

If your kid wants to go to a four-year school, type 4 or 5.

5In the Current College Savings text box, type an amount.

If you’ve already started saving, here’s where you record it.

6Enter the annual yield that you expect the college savings to earn in the Annual Yield text box.

For example, if you think the yield will be 9 percent, enter 9 (not .09).

7Enter the inflation rate anticipated in college tuition in the Predicted Inflation text box.

You can find what the experts say by doing a Web search.

8Select the Inflate Contributions check box if you plan to annually increase — by the annual inflation rate — the amount you save.

If you want to keep the annual contributions at the price you set initially, don’t select this check box.

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9After you enter all the information, click Calculate.

The Annual Contribution field shows how much you need to save each year until the child graduates from college.