By: Jamie Canup, Partner
December 7, 2015
One of the biggest impediments to folks saving for college is procrastination. We all know that to be true in our daily lives. Tomorrow I’ll diet; tomorrow I’ll exercise; tomorrow I’ll open that 529 savings account for my child. We have so many competing activities, demands, thoughts that interrupt and compete for our limited time that often putting money aside for something we know is good for us just gets put off until tomorrow – then the day after – and then the next week – and so on, until it just never gets done.
But here’s the harsh reality: for every dollar that is not saved today to help pay for higher education that means tomorrow there will be $2 that will be paid out to cover that $1 that was not invested previously. If we commit to taking simple steps today, we can fight the tendency to procrastinate and make a decision today that we know is the right thing to do. So rather than running one mile today, run one block today and walk the rest of the way. Tomorrow, run two blocks and walk the rest of the way. The next day run three blocks, and so on. Or park just a little further away today, and then a little further away the next day and so forth – or walk up one flight of stairs today, and two flights next week and so on. You get the idea.
Baby steps become good habits. The same is true for savings. Open a 529 account today with just a small amount. Then add to it next month and keep going each month, or for each birthday, anniversary, graduation, holiday event and so forth. You’ll be amazed at how that account will grow. But more importantly, you’ll be amazed at how much less in loans you or your child will need to pay back later because you made that small contribution TODAY. Don’t put it off any more; do it today!
About the author:
Jamie Canup is Chair of the Tax Practice at the law firm of Hirschler Fleischer based in Richmond, Virginia. He is also an active member of CSPN (and a former Chair of the Corporate Affiliates Advisory Board of CSPN), a frequent speaker at conferences and webinars on issues concerning tax-favored education provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, and has been quoted in The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and other publications on 529 Plans. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.