By Luke Minor, Marketing & Communications Manager
Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program
Nov. 3, 2014
It’s the middle of football season, and no matter whether you’re a fan or not, there are some valuable lessons that can be learned from the top caliber NFL teams when it comes to getting ahead of college expenses. Like executing a winning game plan, saving for college takes thoughtful preparation, dedication and commitment. Here are some tips to get you started:
First things first – if you don’t already have a family budget, start one
Starting your college savings is not the only play you’ll need to draw up for a successful financial game plan, especially when you’re busy raising young kids. This is why it’s important to make a comprehensive strategy mapping out all of your expenses, so you can identify opportunities to fit college savings into the mix. Without accounting for all of your other expenses, drawing up an effective college savings attack may prove quite difficult.
Get started as soon as you can
The sooner you can start saving, the easier it will be to accumulate significant savings in your college accounts. Starting when your kids are infants or even before birth is ideal, but don’t panic if you miss that opportunity. Even if you can get started when your kids are still in pee wee football, you have significant time to make an impact.
Keep adding to your savings
Like the Seattle Seahawk’s running attack, it’s all about “Feeding the Beast.” Even if you can only tear off a couple of yards per down (such as $25 or $50 a month), don’t get discouraged or put off contributing to your savings; small amounts add up over time. Just keep converting those third downs and your college savings will have the potential to grow significantly in value, and give you a good shot at winning the game.
Don’t set it and forget it
Whenever an opportunity comes along to add more to your savings take advantage of it. The best NFL teams know that this is one of the most important factors in winning the game. Sure, it’s important to have a hungry ball-hawking defense that flies around trying to create turnovers, but it’s equally important for the offense to do their job and transform those turnovers into points. If you receive a windfall such as an unexpected inheritance, pay raise, or tax refund, make sure that some of that ends up in your college savings.
In closing, as you’re busy trying to hold back the pass rush of multiple expenses and priorities, take a minute to ask yourself this question: “Do I want to have a well-drawn up, cohesive game plan, or do I want to just get by and pin my hopes on a last second 60-yard Hail Mary to the end zone?” While it takes time to sit down and lay out your plans, the payoff will be worth it. To quote Seahawks QB, Russell Wilson: “The separation is in the preparation.”
About the Author:
Luke Minor is Marketing & Communications Manager for Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. Since it opened in 1998, GET program has grown from 7,900 to over 157,000 accounts, with a fund valued at over $2.5 billion. Washington is unique in that the state only offers a 529 prepaid tuition plan. Minor manages all social media and web content for the GET Program, and has been the author of several articles and blogs published this past year for the program.