Get your kids involved. Level with your child about how much college costs and your own retirement concerns. "Communicate to them how much the education will cost and how much you, as the parent, are willing to pay and how much they, the student, need to come up with," says Hefty. "The kids that are more actively involved in the financial decisions for their education gain more from the college experience." Make sure you bring up the possibility of student employment, how much their scholarships, grants, and financial aid may cover, and also student loans. If you can't help with immediate college expenses, consider helping your children to pay off their loans in the future or consider giving them a free or low-cost place to live while they attend school or pay off their debts. "The largest gift you can ever give to your child is to never move in with them," says Hefty. "That means you probably need to take care of yourself first."