Your child\u2019s future success might encourage you to pull out all of the stops when it comes to funding their education, but you still need to take care of yourself. Saving for retirement or your child\u2019s education is an ongoing debate many parents face throughout their lives, but it\u2019s important to strike a balance between your own financial independence and funding your child\u2019s near or long-term future. As children get older, the case for putting their education needs first is compelling\u2014especially considering lifetime earnings potential with a bachelor\u2019s degree\u2014but you still need to take care of yourself. Finding the right balance will require thorough planning and making some tough choices, but following these three tips will make the process a little easier: Determine \u2018Real\u2019 College Prices: As you begin to investigate college options, note that there is a big difference between the published price of tuition and fees and the price after grants and scholarships have been applied. The national average \u2018net price\u2019 for a public school is $12,272, while the national average net price for a private school is $21,778. Figure Out What You Can Afford: Create a game plan with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER\u2122 professional that incorporates education and retirement funding with other cash flow needs. The plan should also reveal whether education decisions will saddle young graduates or their families with debt burdens that prevent them from reaching other financial goals. Set Expectations with Your Child: Once you have a plan in place, it\u2019s important to communicate with your child. Discuss his or her college possibilities and how they match up against your expectations of what you\u2019re able to afford to ensure you\u2019re on the same page when the time comes to make a decision.