Seventy-five percent of parents with children five-year-olds or younger have begun to save for their children's future college expenses, according to a survey commissioned by Fidelity Investments of Boston. Forty-three percent of them started saving before their child was born, the study found. This is a significant shift from ten years ago, when the average parents of college-bound children said they did not start putting money away for college until their children were seven years old, the study found.

Fifty-nine percent of parents with young children expect to have enough money saved to pay for all or most of their child's college expenses and 48 percent of all parents surveyed believe they are saving enough to meet those goals, the survey revealed. The survey also showed, however, that parents' expectations of reaching those goals diminish as a child gets older.

Parents with college-bound children of all ages in the survey agreed that starting to save as early as possible, saving regularly, making weekly or monthly deposits, and dedicating an account specifically for college so that college funds are not co-mingled with funds for retirement or a new home, are the best strategies for saving for college. The survey, conducted in May and June, of 380 parents of college-bound children, was by Richard Day Research and Bruskin/ Audits & Surveys Worldwide.

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