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Ask Dave

Why Save for College Before Paying Off House?

Dave settles the debate between Kelly and her husband about the order in which to take the Baby Steps.

QUESTION: Kelly and her husband are having a disagreement about the order in which they should do the Baby Steps.  Why does Dave tell people to save for college and retirement before paying off the house?

ANSWER: The reason I tell you to save for college and retirement before paying off the house is because I’ve counseled 72-year-olds who have a paid-for house with absolutely no retirement savings. 

You only need to contribute 15% to your retirement, which should leave you plenty to save for college and pay extra on the house to get it paid off sooner.  The average baby-stepper pays off their house, while funding their retirement and college savings, in seven years, after complete the first three Baby Steps.