North Texas

Saving for College and Retirement Are Top Concerns of Phone Bank Callers

NBC 5, The Dallas Morning News, Telemundo 39, and Al-Dia teamed up to help you answer your financial questions Thursday night.

Some of the most common questions had to do with paying for college.

Young adults wrote in on Facebook and called our experts worried about the cost of college, student loan debt, as well as having enough money to retire. Our financial planner said don't build up huge amounts of student loan debt if your career won't pay a high salary.

"You need to look at the goal, and if it's, 'I really want to go to Stanford,' you talk about it and weigh it against other things. And make sure you and the kid knows, 'I'm going to give up X to get that,' and then it's maybe, 'I'm going to go to community college,'" said Lora Hoff.

Remember, you have to pay the minimum on however many bills you've racked up. So look into whether there's a way to lower the interest rate.

Many of you also said by the time you pay off college, you worry it's too late to save for retirement. The answer is to do them both together. But start small. If your company offers a 401k, use it.

"You definitely want to start putting in enough to get the full employer match, even if you're still carrying some debt, because otherwise you're just missing out on free money," said Jean Keener.

Many employers will double the amount that you save, up to the first 5 percent or so. If you save 5 percent, you then get 10 percent in the bank.

"Some people, when they're in their working years, have lots and lots of expenses from raising a family. Just the type of lifestyle they want to lead. And in retirement, they plan a very simple lifestyle. I think it's much more helpful for people to really understand what they want their retirement lifestyle to look like, and then to build a plan from there," Keener said.

So before you drive that fancy car now, think about if you want to travel later in life, or where you want to live. It may make driving that simple compact car a lot more appealing.

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