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Parents Put Retirement Savings Ahead Of College Savings

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Parents tend to worry more about saving for retirement than for saving to pay children’s college tuition bills.

Researchers at Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, have reported figures supporting that conclusion in a summary of results from a recent parent survey.

About 70% of parents say they make college a top savings priority, but 83% say they make saving for their own retirement a top savings priority.

The share of parents who put retirement savings first was 80% for parents without financial advisors and 91% for parents with advisors.

The share who put college savings first was 80% for parents without an advisor and 68% for parents with an advisor.

But 86% of parents with advisors have started saving for college, compared with just 68% of parents without advisors.

About 31% of college savers said they began saving as a result of discussions with a financial advisor, and 25% said they had set aside additional money for college as a result of talking to advisors.

The 529 college savings plan ownership rate is 45% among parents who have worked with advisors and just 26% among parents without advisors.

But the researchers found that 23% of parents who have used professional financial advice still know little or nothing about 529 plans.