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How Much Can I Afford to Save, and How Far Will It Get Me?

Parents shouldn't compromise their own retirement plans to save for their children's college expenses, but they should establish guidelines with their children for how much they're prepared to spend.

Christine Benz: We're talking about saving for college today, and one thing that a lot of families have to wrestle with is this idea of making trade-offs. They're usually saving for their own retirements, at the same time they're attempting to invest and save for college. How do you begin to evaluate those trade-offs and find that right balance?

Adam Zoll: I think in a sense, this speaks to some of the emotional issues that we talk about when we talk about saving for college. We all want to do the best that we can for our children and provide the best education that we can for them. However, doing so at the expense of saving for retirement could be a real mistake.