By Marissa Rowe, Executive Director, Indiana Education Savings Authority

April 9, 2024

It’s National Financial Literacy Month. If you’re reading this post, then one of the following is likely true:

  1. We’re related,
  2. You work in the 529 industry, or
  3. You’re thinking about starting a 529 and you’re hoping something I say will push you over the edge into saving since it’s National Financial Literacy Month. 

A hearty “hello and good day” to the 1s and 2s. For the 3s, let’s talk about finding your Why.

The internet is full of how to articles and videos, all teeming with facts about 529s. The deeper and more personal question is: Why should you save? Finding your motivation can be the single most important part of the saving process. Here are a few reasons you might consider saving for future education in a 529 plan.

You save to avoid debt. The idea of the children or grandchildren having the same education debt you had is enough to drive you to save. Having $0 saved for education and having to pay back so much student loan debt can be a big motivator to save for a future generation.

You value education. You’ve decided that formal education beyond high school is important and you’re ready to put your money where your values lie. Whether it’s a registered apprenticeship, two-year or four-year education, opening and saving in a 529 account allows you to have money available to spend on something that’s important to you: education.

You desire more opportunities. Career training and education can open doors and expand opportunities. From the skills you learn to the people you meet, education after high school brings access to opportunities and experiences. Saving in a 529 makes funds available to pay for the education and training to take you where you want to go.

All of the above. There’s no wrong answer here. It’s about understanding yourself and what motivates you.

Now that you have your why, open the account, make your first contribution, and then set up automatic contributions that fit your budget. Getting started is easy once you understand your why.

About the Author

Marissa Rowe is executive director of the Indiana Education Savings Authority, which administers Indiana’s CollegeChoice 529 Direct, Advisor, and CD Savings Plan with more than $7 billion in assets under management. A proud first-generation college student, Marissa received her B.A. in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and her M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She paid off her student loans in 2020 and has 529 plans for her nieces and granddaughter.