October 26, 2018
As most parents will tell you, kids start growing fast and they don’t ever slow down. Where do the years go? For many busy parents of preschoolers, college likely seems like a far-off expense, but in a blink of an eye, your preschooler will be a teenager walking across the stage at his or her high school graduation. That’s why it can never be too early to start saving for higher education. By saving early and contributing often, you’ll be ready when your child receives that high school diploma.
I know that making time to ensure your child is adequately prepared for the financial responsibilities he or she will need to face in the future can seem a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. Following the checklist below will help make preparing for your child’s higher education expenses simple:
- For starters, open a college savings plan as early as possible. For many plans, there is no minimum to opening a plan—so you can start with what you can afford.
- Talk about it! Tell your friends and family that you have taken the steps to save for your child’s higher education future and invite them to give gifts in the form of 529 contributions. You’ll quickly see those funds start to add up.
- Milestones are the perfect time to increase your contributions. For example, once your child graduates from preschool and you no longer pay daytime childcare costs, take that extra money and increase your monthly contribution. A little extra can go a long way over time.
- Don’t forget about scholarships and social contests. Many contests and scholarships are offered by various entities throughout the year. As your child gets older, do regular internet searches to stay on top of things your child can apply for to win some extra cash, from drawing contests to short essays and more.
Saving early for college expenses, with a clear plan, not only reduces stress and supplies peace of mind for you—it also highlights just how important higher education is to your child. So get started today—your child’s financial future is closer than you think!
About the author:
Curtis Loftis is the State Treasurer of South Carolina. He also serves as the administrator of South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 College Savings Program. Visit treasurer.sc.gov or futurescholar.com for more information on ways to save through a 529 plan.