You just brought the baby home from the hospital and you decide to start a monthly investment program to fund four years of college costs at $30,000 per year (in today's dollars). You'll need to save $585 per month through your child's senior year in college to pay the $120,000 cost (this assumes a 5% inflation rate and a 7% investment earnings rate).
Suppose your child is ten years old and you haven't saved anything yet... now you'll need to save $984 per month to fund the $120,000.
If your child starts college in one year and you haven't done any pre-funding, you'll need to save at least $2,175 per month through their senior year of college to fund the $120,000 for the four years. That's more than double what you would have needed if you started saving when your child was ten. That's why we recommend you begin a monthly funding program as early as possible.