By Patricia Roberts
Managing Director & Senior 529 Product Manager, AllianceBernstein L.P.
September 26, 2013
Back to school season is a gentle reminder that the children in our lives are one year closer to college. Whether you’ve just recently walked hand in hand with your toddler into the first day of preschool, waved as your little one boarded a school bus for the very first time or offered an encouraging high five as an older child more independently headed off to middle school, there’s no time like now to develop a plan for what lies ahead. With a blink of an eye, not only will the children in your life have grown, but what they envision for their future will likely have evolved as well.
An ancillary benefit of saving for college is that it may help children’s’ aspirations grow along with them. Recent findings suggest just this. “Our research has shown that establishing savings accounts for children early in life, even in modest amounts, greatly increases the likelihood that they will attend and complete college, which benefits the student, the economy and the nation as a whole William Elliot III, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare and Director of the Assets and Education Initiative at University of Kansas.
Knowing that money is earmarked for his or her higher education may help a child develop a college-bound identity and with this, may come greater academic interest and engagement. Beyond this, account establishment may help enable a child to begin envisioning forms of education and careers that he or she may otherwise have considered out of reach.
What steps can you take to help open as many doors as possible? If you have already begun to save, be sure to let the child(ren) for whom you are saving know. And while you’re at it, consider letting close friends and family know as well. Opening a dialogue can help to establish healthy savings habits at home and can inspire others to pitch in for special occasions throughout the year.
If you haven’t yet begun to save, there are more reasons than ever to get started. Back to School season is a fitting time to learn what options exist and to establish a plan that may very well benefit those you love in more ways than you can imagine.
About the Author:
Patricia Roberts is a Managing Director at AllianceBernstein where she is the Senior 529 Product Manager for Rhode Island’s CollegeBoundfund, the nation’s second largest advisor-sold college savings program with $7+ billion in assets. She has been involved in nearly every aspect of the 529 industry for the past 15 years as an attorney, product manager, state relationship manager and as a passionate advocate and public speaker. She is an active participant in the CollegeSavings Plans Network’s Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Federal Initiatives and National Communications Committees.