If peace of mind looks like a pie, I think I am lucky to have a fairly big serving of it. Though I have no idea how much things will cost in the future, my husband and I are saving money, specifically for college tuition for our two children, and hoping we won’t have to sell our house to pay for any poor estimating we’ve done.
In California, ScholarShare is the administrator of this thing called a 529 plan, which allows you to set aside money for education, tax-free. If paperwork is not your strong suit, a single account for your family is fine; no need to set one up for each child. Any money in the account can be used to pay for anyone’s education, including room and board, computers, etc.
Heather recently attended a dinner hosted by the ScholarShare team, along with moms at various income levels, to learn more about setting savings goals. She called me afterward with the conclusion that a ScholarShare account is really the best holiday gift any grandparent could give. You won’t lose any pieces or step on it; no one will outgrow it; and the baby won’t put it in his mouth. Hence, we share this suggestion with you.
Through the “Give a Gift” option on its website, any gift giver can open an account for children of all ages for as little as $25. And if your kiddo is already on the path to college with a ScholarShare account, aunts, uncles, and grandparents can contribute to an existing account with the “Gift of Education Certificate,” allowing for a personal message to be included for the beneficiary.
The important thing to remember is that no contribution is too small. Even $25 per month will add up — and grow — with interest.
As you can see from this chart, the sooner you start, the better. To reach a savings goal of $100,000 requires contributions of $256 a month if you start when your child is a newborn. Waiting 8 years to start saving means you will need to contribute $607 a month to reach the same savings goal.
ScholarShare also has a phone app and online calculator to help you look at different saving scenarios.
My mom is maintaining her own 529 plan for my kids education already. It’s a smart way for her to manage her money, and thankfully I didn’t have to take on the task of convincing her to do it.
Do you wish your parents were contributing to a college savings plan for your children? Is ScholarShare something you’d feel comfortable suggesting to them?
Thanks to Scholarshare for sponsoring this post. My family and I are already customers, but until I got to know the company better, I had not thought of letting all the grandparents know that they could participate online without mailing us a check.