When the stock market started to tumble, many Americans became obsessed with their dwindling retirement accounts. How were people, particularly those in or near retirement, ever going to bounce back?

But if you're a parent, you've likely had something else on the brain as well: college savings plans. Unless you've been investing much more conservatively than most experts were advising—including me—you've taken your lumps in your 529s and Coverdells. I know I have.

An OppenheimerFunds study found that, while 90 percent of parents view sending their kids to college as an essential part of the American dream, nearly half have saved less than $5,000 to pay for it. About 60 percent strongly believe if tuition costs keep rising, college will be unaffordable for most families.

As a parent of two kids rapidly approaching college age, I know the numbers are daunting. How do you keep up with your savings when the economy and the stock market seem to be working against you?


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