By Anna Scimemi
September 18, 2016

As a family, you know you need to save for college costs, but you might not know where to begin. Or perhaps you’re too overwhelmed by higher education’s large price tag to get started. You might find help in an unexpected place: a local community event.

529 plans recognize that individuals are busy and saving can get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Rather than relying on you to find us, we go out into the community to offer guidance, motivate students and parents, and share important information on college planning. From baseball games to state fairs, community events connect people who need to save with tax-advantaged 529 savings programs.

In Massachusetts, the U.Fund Dreams Tour is a popular attraction at area concerts and festivals. We, the Massachusetts Educational cspn-blog_20160915_a-scimemi_photoFinancing Authority (MEFA), and our Program Manager Fidelity Investments created the traveling exhibit to engage people of all ages. While children toss stuffed sheep toward a bright moon, parents play a digital version on tablets. After entering their current savings balance and monthly contribution, they find out how close they’ll come to college’s future cost. The game also is available online; try it for yourself.

Community events create an opportunity to learn how to plan and save for higher education. As you are out and about this fall, look for representatives throughout your community and at family-friendly events. You can have fun with your child while helping him or her dream about and prepare for the future.

September provides a great opportunity to start saving because it’s College Savings Month. With kids and teens everywhere back in school, College Savings Month reminds families to think of a future September when a loved one is starting the next chapter of his or her life in a college classroom.

Whether you talk with someone about a 529 plan at an event or research online, avoid letting one more month (or year!) pass without developing a plan and starting your savings.

About the author:
Anna Scimemi is the director of college savings for the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA).