Saving for College Amid the Financial Turmoil

If a family puts too much money in stocks, it could easily lose a year’s worth of tuition in a matter of months.

Comments: 42

  1. Even before my youngest child was born, I started putting money in zero-coupon municipal bonds which mature just when I will need the money to pay the tuition. This is a sure thing, stocks aren't.

  2. I diligently saved $200,000 (four years of college tuition)and put it all in CDs. Sure the interest income was taxed and I had to fiddle around with several CDs in order to maximize the return, but the principal increased by a net of $4,000 per year. That was more than adequate to take care of tution inflation and I slept well. My friend who invested his funds in stocks lost 23% before bailing out.

    My daughter just finished her first semester at a cost of $49,600 and I just paid an equal amount for her second semester. Inflation isn't a threat if you've got the total four years of tuition saved up. By my calculation, the savings on those tuition plans isn't worth the effort.

  3. some 529 plans now offer cd options. ohio has a 4year fdic insured cd paying 5%

  4. It is impossible to save for college unless you have an income of $1 million dollars a year.

    Parents need to start being very honest with their kids. They should tell their kids to start thinking very seriously about how they are going to finance their own educations. Maybe this will cause kids to stop looking at over priced private colleges when they can get the same quality education at cheaper state institutions.

    The days of paying $40,000 dollars a year to get a useless degree in subjects like English or art history are slowly coming to an end.

    I hope colleges begin to realize this. If not, parents and students will and the colleges will be forced to bring those exorbitant prices down.

  5. It really has to do with time horizon. If you have five years or less to save, CDs are the way to go. So, they only yield 3.5 to 4%, but a potential fixed loss due to likely tuition inflation is far better than gambling that stocks have reached the bottom. (In the current environment, zero-coupons are not a good idea.) With a ten years or longer horizon, you might consider stocks or royalty trusts (high tax-free income), but my gut feeling is that the markets haven't hit a bottom yet.

  6. I know of one father who moved to his friend's basement so his daughter could go to Yale. In my generation people sold their houses or took second jobs to finance their children's education. Could it be that most people would still like to play golf and be part of the leisure class without worrying about college costs? Also, college students might learn a thing or two if they have part time jobs while in college. Think of Eartha Kitt as a teenager, most college kids won't experience anything close to what she went through. Again, its the entitlement culture of most Americans today.

  7. This is in no way directed to parents who have invested in stocks to aid in their childrens college education. It is meant to stand alone from the issue.

    The stock market is and always has functioned on the greater fool theory.

  8. For younger children, cash value life insurance with a small face amount and larger than scheduled premium payments allows for a multitude of options when the child turns into a teenager. When the question of college comesup, many parents hope that their offspring will have won some full-ride scholarship and the years of sports will have paid off. For most, the money is taxable when pulled from a 529 account. In CVLI, college costs can be funded by taking a loan against cash value and is tax-free. If that scholarship did in fact become a reality, then the money is available for other things. Even if CVLI is used for college, there's going to be lots left (if structured appropriately, following the rules, etc) to fund a down payment for a home, a nice wedding and/or honeymoon, and perhaps even some retirement money down the road.

    For those in the teen years with some money in a 529 who don't want to lose the principle in the coming years, I'd say to put the 529 plan inside a fixed deferred annuity with a 3-5 year window for annuitization.

    Don't know how to do this? Contact a seasoned life and annuity expert. Families have funded needs for generations with these tools. It's when the stock market became sexy and everyone got addicted to risk that we put blinders on and couldn't see the old tried and true methods for building wealth.

    It's back-to-basics time, folks.

  9. We moved to Europe from the U.S. 15 years ago. I kept the money that we had saved for my daughter's college education while we were in the states mostly in stocks. Her portfolio has taken quite a beating but because it has been invested for so long she is still very much ahead.

    Since university education in Europe is quite inexpensive she did not need the money that I had invested for her and thus it can remain for a long term until the markets recover. Then we will use the money to buy her an apartment.

  10. #4

    (1) Most private colleges - or at least the ones in the Top 100 - have their own money to use for student finacial aid. That allows them to extend far more aid to students than a public university can.

    (2) You get what you pay for. My undergrad college (private) had, and still has, a student-faculty ratio of 1::12; the classes are taught by the professor with the PhD - not graduate assistants; the exams aare only given in an essay format - not multiple choice or true/false and that requires the ability to engage in analytical thinking and critical writing; and all seniors must complete an original research project in their major resulting in a thesis that is 1/2 way between a Master's thesis and a doctorate in length, and pass written exams in their major and minor; and the college never does remedial in any subject. You do not get that personalized attention or that academic rigor at a public university. It is also highly selective and a larger percentage of its grads go on to get post-grad degrees than do the graduates of Harvard.

    BTW, history is NOT useless. A knowledge of history (my specialty is the economic, social and political history of the 1930s) allowed me to see the seeds of the current credit crash and recession coming over 5 years ago. Anyone who thinks history is 'useless' is doomed to repeat it and can never learn from prior events. Anyone who thinks English is 'useless' is uneducated, has no grasp of the ideas conveyed through literature and the sort who wallows in reality TV.

  11. What gratuitous advice! Two years ago all the NYT and other columnists were encouraging us to put high percentages of 529 accounts into equities because bonds would never produce yields equal to or higher than the outrageous rate of higher education inflation. Now, with incredibly perceptive hindsight, we're being warned about the risks of having followed this advice. We're all adults who are responsible for our own investment decisions. But, please, don't warn us about dangers that have already ocurred. Indeed, the risks of investing heavily in equities are probably much lower today than they were 2-5 years ago.

  12. Km,

    Of course you can save for college if you earn less than $1M per year. Decide whther you want luxury homes, cars, etc.

  13. We are very happy that we ignored 529s and kept to those boring CDs (including one locked in just before the Fed started slashing interest rates). It's not much, relatively speaking-- but we still have it .

    Until the "because we can" pricing model of most universities changes, though, I don't see how the typical family could possibly keep up. I guess the alternative plan is six numbers, drawn on Tuesdays and Fridays.

  14. My four-year-old's, $47,169 NYS 529 total return (total investment: $50,062) is off 5.8% since inception in Dec. 2004 (total; not annualized), but that would have been far, far worse if I didn't have nearly 41% in a money market, and almost 22% in bonds. The rest's in stocks.

    This actually understates his stock exposure, since his approximate $9,000 Coverdell ESA is entirely in stocks. And all future contributions are also going entirely in to stocks, since he has 14 years until matriculation. In addition, there's the tax benefit to a NYS family of deducting the $10k from adjusted gross income each spring.

    Still, the idea that a college savings account needs to be slavishly devoted to stocks at the outset in order to fight expected inflation is specious if there's a risk the portfolio's going to be clocked 40% in 12-15 months. Years of 8-10% returns won't get you back to breakeven for some time, so the 63% of my son's 529 that's now available to be shifted in to stocks in coming years is a special comfort.

    Separately, it's entirely false that a family income of $1,000,000 is required to save for college. We've set aside nearly $60,000 in four years on less than $150,000, without short changing our own retirement accounts or confining ourselves to beans and rice. But you do need to be able to delay gratification, not care what car you drive, and live beneath your means. We both lived abroad in years past and don't feel compelled to take a small child to Europe unless we could stay with friends. Montreal's a lot closer and just as exotic to a child. We can rent a beautiful house in Fairlee, VT for $800 a week. We're far from deprived.

    The subject I'd like to see a personal finance columnist tackle is the challenge involved in saving for child #2 versus child #1. I haven't seen a spreadsheet yet that equitably addresses that topic.

  15. The question here fails to realize that there is a difference between "saving for college" and "expecting the stock market to pay for college".

    Also, anyone that lost 40% of their child's college savings while they were a high school senior this year forgot that you basically save for college like you do a retirement. That is, as your target date approaches, continually shift your asset base to more conservative assets. I would hope that the bulk of the equity market savings was done by time they were 14, and the last few years the money would be stashed in munis/ CDs.

  16. I still think a 529 plan invested in stocks is a good idea if you have a long enough time horzion. My children are 1 and 2 years old, so I have been overweight the indexes. I believe the value of index funds will be greater in 16 and 17 years when that money is needed for tuition.

  17. With tuition increasing at 5-8% yearly, it's pretty clear that planning ahead is a fool's game.

    One of these days, our elected "leaders" will learn that tuition tax breaks, government-subsidized loans and 529 plans only create more available funds for tuition increases. All while reducing tax revenue and funds available for our public, affordable institutions.

  18. The answer to this problem is blindingly obvious. The old model of away-from-home, tenured professors, summmers off, four years of college is dead, dead, dead. This gives abysmal, just miserable value for money. Higher education can and should be delivered over the Internet, for FREE, on the student's own schedule, without high-priced 10-hours-per-week, 32 weeks per year professors. No need for dorms, sushi bars, climbing walls and everything else that taxpayers indirectly subsidize. Streaming video, complete study materials and problem sets for all to study at their own pace. Certification exams at the end. Colleges need to go on a radical diet, RIGHT NOW, and operate for the benefit of students and families, not faculty and administrators.

  19. My daughter is graduating from UC San Diego this year. About 8 years ago I bought four Treasury STRIPS, set to mature each year of her college on July 1. Much like CDs, I guess, (and not an option now that Treasuries are so low). It literally never occurred to me to invest in equities.

    Because of my teacher's salary, my daughter was Cal Grant eligible each year, but with California's present financial crisis, I feel like she's graduating at exactly the right time.

    BTW, a little known FAFSA rule is that if you can reduce annual income below 50K, you don't have to report assets. In that sense, poverty can pay.

  20. Mr. Lieber and NYtimes are always behind the curve. On September 12, when the stock market was on its way toward the historic crash, Mr. Lieber wrote an article titled: "Memo to the Uneasy Investor: Be Strong".

    Following are two quotes from that:
    NOW, BE BRAVE Investing in the middle of market gyrations isn’t just a question of controlling the urge to sell indiscriminately. It’s also about taking a close look at the contents of your portfolio and then forcing yourself to fix an asset allocation that is out of whack and to buy in sectors of the markets that are out of favor.

    Still tempted to cut off your 401(k) contributions, or funnel them all into cash? Well, how will you know when it’s time to get back into stocks? Chances are, by the time you’re comfortable with the markets you will have missed a good chunk of the rebound.

  21. These long-term strategies to buy something that is very expensive, undefined and of unknown value to individuals strikes me as illogical. If, as in other cultures, you were saving for, say, an enormous wedding bash, or a house for the kid, one might say that taking particular bets on inflation, mortality and the economy almost makes sense. Once you make the leap to judging the value of some sort of education, based on historical averages of lifetime earning power or whatever, you're on shakier grounds than our leveraged stock market. The very reason that education is becoming so expensive so quickly obviously relates to its having fewer returns, more dilution, not to its increasing value. Even the safest traditional bet - medical school, for example - has probably crossed the threshold of not being worth the cost, and a degree in, to take a contentious example, liberal arts, a much more speculative bet. To be even more brutal about it, a parent of a two-year old in 2009 knows nothing about what their child will need, or be able to absorb, to have a better life in nineteen years. In technology, the area I know best, a few advanced degrees here and there, of course, but almost everyone else will benefit most from that distasteful thing called vocational training. Performance, individual talent, rather than a sheepskin, will open doors. Even high schools have no coherent plan for preparing students for the present world, let alone the future.
    Yup, I graduated MIT, got a Ph.D. and all, so I'm not unaware that expensive private schools are important, but somewhere along the way America, particularly America, has forgotten that there is a cost and a benefit to education, both to the society and the individual. Lose sight of that, and we descend further from prosperity or even relevancy. Save your money, sure, but keep a eye on what you intend to buy with it!

  22. I'd like to add to comments by #11 and #23. Financial advisors at the NYTimes and elsewhere appear to follow the trend of the moment as does this particular columm. It wasn't long ago that the suggestion was to put money in stocks because bonds did not yield enough. Now, it is pointed out that a more conservative strategy with a shift towards bonds as the due date approaches would be prudent. The point I tried to make before being removed for being off point was that one should be aware that public investment advisors tend to go with the flow. It is therefore important that savers be aware and educate themselves since an advisor is often constrained by convention. Fiduciary responsibility is similar. It simply means that the responsible party is making sure that an investment follows convention i.e. not necessarily what the advisor would do with his/her own investments. Unfortunately, in the past year, convention was not the responsible way and financial advisors in general should be called to task on this.

  23. These days, about 60% of HS graduates go to college. For those that don't we'd ideally like to get high quality vocational or technical training to keep up say with EU which thanks to it doesn't seem to be losing its manufacturing base. It makes a lot of sense for us as a society to make post-secondary education free or almost free and paid by the taxes (sorry for the scary word). It will benefit the society by not having the students' majors skewed towards business administration and pre-law - and the society once it provides money to the schools could control costs much better than today and "push" for the programs of study which benefit it. Also, we'll be able to celebrate that the discipline of "financial planning for college" died away...

  24. It has always mystified me a bit how folks think of the darndest ideas for financing their kid's education more than a decade ahead of time, but neglect the most obvious investments and strategies. Here is my "investment advice" as a parent of a college student and a college educator: 1. Invest in the kids -- make time to help them with school and life early on. In all likelihood this will result in your kids being better students (and often in a lower $$ income for the parents). But better students make stronger college applicants with more financial aid options. 2. Figure out with the kid where they fit in the higher education landscape. Maybe the best fit is not with a high-cost, low financial aid institution. Well-targeted applications will also yield better (financial aid) results 3. Be prepared to live truly frugally during the five years prior to your kids' college graduation.

    Almost There

  25. I do seem to wonder why administrative costs of college have continued to out pace inflation, despite more wide spread use of computer databases over the past 30 years- something that should have decreased administrative costs. Meanwhile, professor salaries have not kept pace w/ inflation it seems. But dorms today are more expensive to live in than off campus housing and fancier than some hotels. . . Do we have our priorities out of balance? I empathize w/ the individual who pointed out that complex savings instruments only further encourage escalation of higher ed costs.

  26. The American educational model is inherently wrong to the degree that it actually sickens me as I look at it.

    You (or your parents) save money like crazy only to be able to push youself through college. It sort of reminds me of the lack od medical insurance of such great number of Americans. At the same time we are being constantly bombarded in the media with the message how great and how advanced this country is. Well, guess what, in most European countries all citizens have access to higher education at little or no cost (see message 9 on this board by John C, Portugal) just as much as all citizens have access to affordable public medical care. Yet, the same European countries enjoy high standards of living and suffer less social uncertainty. Americans, being a very egocentric nation, are usually not even aware that a different, tuition-free educational model exists anywhere in the Western world. Therefore, 529 plans, crushing burden of student loans are a part of their miserable lives. Yet, other nations live free of these problems, and still are able to prosper.

    One of the major problems (but not the only one) I see with the American educational system is very similar to the housing bubble that took place recently. It is namely the very easy access to "educational" loans by the young and naive students. At most colleges you get "educational" multithousand dollar loans just at the stroke of your pen, no collateral and at the college "financial advisor's" encouraging (much the same way it was taking place in the case of crazy mortgages in the case of real estate industry). This access to easy money grossly inflates the price of college education (much the same way the access to easy money irrationally inflated prices of real estate). Because of this, now the college education is more expensive, the current and future students will have to borrow even more money. As they borrow more money, the greater pool of funds will now create even greater college tuitions as colleges chase the borrowed funds. It is a vicious cicle. It has nothing to do with quality of education. I do not see anything in the economy/educational system that would justify such great increases in college tuition. Do you ? Much the same way there was nothing in the economy/real estate that justified greater real estate prices. Another words saying, it is universities (especially the private ones) and lenders (banks and others) who take us for a ride. Universities like the loans because they infinitely secure their profits. Lenders love the loans for the very much same reasons. Notice that tuition started to surpass inflation rate just about the current student loan system was created, and solidified in its current shape about 10 - 20 years ago. Which suggests a quite clear correlation between increased access to loans and galloping tuition. At the same time a quiet army of youths carries at times devastating and life long debt that pretty much defines their lives. But it does not have to be like this. Europeans and others do not know these problems at all. They do not save money. They simply graduate from high school, go to college, graduate, and ? And nothing. Then they proceed with their lives worry- and debt-free. Just imagine the very bearable lightness of being of not having to live at the mercy of the stock market if it comes to your 529 plans or not having to worry about repaying your student loans ? What if you get sick ? What if your parent loses his/her job ? Europeans do not know this. You go to college no matter what, provided you are good academically.

    Americans live at the mercy of its own crooked and powerful financial industry that was recently joined by the college money making industry. How can it be you ruin yourself just to go to school ? How can it be your education costs $200,000 but the salary that awaits you is $30-40,000, if at all ? How can it be the government doggedly pursuits its best educated citizens in order to extract school loans payments even if a person can not clearly ever repay the loan ?

    The current economic crisis the most likely will only excerbate this problem. With higher unemployment rate fewer people will be able to save for college or repay their student loans. We will have more uneducated people as well as more broke ones as they will become crushed by school debt. By the way, as far as I know, the government does not bother to collect the data on how many are bankrupt-for-life by school debt as much as it does not collect data on how many unemployed there are (it only collects the data on the ones who collect unemployment benefits, which is a far smaller number).

    In my opinion, the educational system needs to be rebuilt. Access to supereasy educational loans has to be limited. College entrance standards need to be raised. Taxpayers need to take a greater responsibility for education. This is more or less how it works in Europe.

  27. Stocks are a prudent way to finance college tuition if you realize that it's a massive "Ponzi Scheme". Buy low and sell high, leaving those who bought high holding the bag when the market tanks.

  28. I think you just have to watch the markets and use your head to be able to save for your kids' college. Ie, if you put money into stocks in 2006, you would have lost a lot. But prices have fallen so much in 2008 that I doubt you'd get burned at this point, assuming you can wait for at least a decade to let them recover their value. Obviously nobody knows but. . .

  29. Another problem 529 plans have is that they only let you change the way your current money is allocated once per year. Thus, you may have known that the market was crashing half-way through 2008 but would not have been allowed to transfer money out of stocks and into bonds or a money market fund. The rules need to be changed to allow investors to re-allocate their 529 assets at least twice per year.

  30. I have read the comment section and am impressed with how many people are disgusted with the way we pay for education. The 529 plan is a vehicle to pay for a future expense and may, or may not, be invested in stocks. Universal public education subsidized by taxpayers would be the equivalent of 529 plans. Wealthier individuals who actually can fund these plans would instead pay for their and others children's education via higher taxes. So by reducing your savable post-tax income and supporting universal education/health care you create the same problem. Do you believe the government can provide a good educational solution? I doubt this one can looking at how they have handled secondary education. I agree that too many people are allowed into college for useless degrees and that the loan industry basically fuels the expense. I think the government can play a role in this industry hopefully controlling runaway tuition inflation. My wife and I are both MD/PHD's and believe the cost of education was worth it despite declining reimbursements. I suspect my 1 and 2 year old might be bright enough to handle college so we will fund their 529 plans. Hopefully the drop in the market will be a good buying opportunity in retrospect.

  31. Forty two thousand a semester? Is there room service and a doorman at every building?
    I had to put myself through college; I got out in 2001. I have a "soft degree" in Communications and Art History (double major). This means I'm literate, and have some culture and good critical thinking skills. And I have a pretty decent job. I make more money than Ivy League grads from my high school. University is not a trade school, even though some people harp on practicality. The practical people who took things like management skills are pretty lame... Did I mention I make more money than them, too?

    But I digress. I went to state university, stayed out of sushi restaurants and expensive nightclubs, shopped at Big Box and Goodwill, still looked good. Why do college students need two hundred dollar jeans and thousand dollar status purses? Or cell phones?

    Since my state has equal standing between schools and credits transfer I did the first three semesters at an excellent junior college with a very low student teacher ratio. My classes were filled with kids from the forty grand a semester private school who know how to stretch a buck. Our six hundred a semester sent us off way ahead of the people at the universities we'd do our major course work at. And I took some trade school classes for fun and because they were interesting. No education is wasted, especially when it gets you a pretty good job right out of school with a major construction company.

    This seems off the subject- but why is forty k a semester seen as necessary? For Yale, perhaps but a lot of parents send their young geniuses off to granola colleges nobodies ever heard of and the cost is staggering! Should you be sweating it over making the money or doing some homework to get value for your dollar? I can always get a Brand Name masters, but I got out ten k in debt and had a massive alumni network in place to turn to. Are you guys thinking this through completely? University is not about a name tattooed on your forehead. It's about twisting your brain until it changes from mush to a creative power that can change the world for the better. I hope. This can happen at better rates than are being quoted here. I suspect a lot of schools take the parents for a pretty bumpy ride.

  32. States that chose poor fund managers(the kind who risked a substantial part of a 16-year-olds future tuition on higher risk equities just as he/she is heading toward their senior year) should be held accountable. Let them sue the fund managers if they wish. Had states had not marketed 529 plans with the State name attached to them, why would taxpayers immediately have trusted them? When you use your State as an incentive to control money you otherwise might not have kept instate, do you not have oversight responsibility for such funds? I am surprised parents act as if it was their fault. Is this another breach of trust? Shifting the blame onto parents who relied on the financial wisdom of state appointed investment groups and dutifully contributed to their childrens' future fails the logic test. Parents were asked to participate and those who did so, contributed in good faith.

  33. Every child deserves a chance. If parents bought a modest rental home when the child was born and put it on a 15 year loan and perhaps fed that loan in the first few years but then it became revenue neutral and finally cash flow positive by the time that child reached 17 the loan would be paid off mainly by tenants and could be refinanced for a lump some for college tuition or the rents could make monthly payments toward the tuition or the house could be sold and the proceeds fund the tuition.

    The best plan is refinance or collect monthly rents and keep the house so that it can then help fund retirement.

    Few assets perform that way with another person paying off the debt and you receiving the equity which can be refinanced and used again.

    Granted this can only be done in markets where rentals make economic sense but there are many markets where it does make sense.

    Real estate is the basis of wealth especially when it is investment quality- not speculative flipping, not self aggrandizing consumption but well thought out. Everyone needs a roof over their head as a tenant or an owner. Own that roof for the long term and let someone else buy it to fund your retirement or your child's or grand child's education.

  34. I'd suggest to your kids to work hard so they can get opportunities overseas. Not only do European societies have better political systems, they are much more fair to their college students. As one who's suffered in the U.S., I wish I had known about foreign opportunities beforehand.

    I would have left long ago.

  35. I am 26 years old, about to get married. We have a combined income of just over 100K. This may seem like a lot, but after paying rent and utilities for a modest apartment, paying off student loans, a car loan (basic toyota, no luxury car believe me), and for every day living expenses such as food, almost nothing is left (we live in Cambridge, MA).

    I do not see how we can save much for a down payment, let alone have kids and save for their future tuition, while also saving for our own retirement. My own tuition loans will take us a good 15 years to pay off at our current income. It sad that two highly educated professionals that work long hours must contemplate the the possibility of not having kids at all..its either their education or our retirement the way I see it. I doubt we will have Social Security by then.

  36. Save for college?? I can barely stay afloat as a public school teacher with an MS degree. Health insurance and the cost of living in general leaves me with little at the end of the month. I'm retiring in a few years and leaving this country. I've had enough.

  37. Yah, we got hit. My daughter is a sophomore and a private university, and what had looked like a "war chest" that would take her at least part way into a masters degree now looks as tho it will run out early in her senior year.

    HOwever, Km is is quite wrong - our income is low six-figures, not seven, and we're paying out of pocket for awhile to avoid realizing a loss and to ensure we WILL be able to get her thru to graduation. What else would we do with our money? Buy a gas-guzzling SUV???

  38. 2 things:
    1. Most 529 plans require that you spend the money in that state - which is a huge limitation unless you live in CA, MA or NY.
    2. Why are you ignoring TIPS as a bet against inflation?

  39. Arthur, your Europe fetishization overlooks the fact that most young Italians and Spaniards cannot afford to leave their parents' homes. I'd rather graduate with college debt and independence than be shackled to my childhood bedroom.

  40. Do you really go to a college to be successful or rather do you really need to go to an american college to be successful? There's no guarantee that a child that grows up in tuvalu, goes to college in rwanda could not be the ceo of a multi national company, i,ll get my six pack and wait for the kids when the time comes i,ll worry about their going to college. Meanwhile let me think of getting out of this foreclosure proceeding, my kids needs a home now.

  41. Arthur (post 29),

    As someone who has lived in Europe, sure, most higher education is free in Europe. But, most of those universities are of poor quality with overcrowded classrooms. Often they are not allowed to choose students based on merit. The exceptions like Oxford and Cambridge are increasingly trying to attract foreign students who have to pay full tuition. The UK instituted tuition fees a few years ago for the first time (~3000 pounds per year I believe, which wouldn't even have to be paid back until you were working with a minimum salary), to lots of protest. They've realized that having more people go to university means that taxpayer financing is no longer sufficient. So that model is hardly ideal either. And there are private universities that fall outside the system that are world-class and free to charge whatever tuition they want.

  42. Odd that the NYT doesn't mention the strategy which many good academics recommend... set an asset allocation and rebalance to maintain it... `Value Average' to buy a little more during downs and sell a little during ups. This means... now is the time to buy. Most people do just the opposite... they buy during ups, sell during downs. And the NYT seems to emphasize the unprofitable behavior with articles like this one.