By Lael Oldmixon, Executive Director of the Education Trust of Alaska
In advance of 529 Day,* individuals may be wondering how to celebrate this very special occasion. As a mom, and in my professional career, I have learned a thing or two about planning events and celebrations! In this short blog, I will share my advice on planning the perfect event to make your 529 Day celebration one for the history books.
- Set the date & time. You don’t have to celebrate 529 Day exclusively on 5/29. Like many major holidays and other special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, you can celebrate on the actual day OR for the week prior, the month prior, and if you’re particularly enthusiastic, you can celebrate the entire year. Celebrating 529 Day on May 29th is ideal, however, you are never limited to just one day.
- Set a theme. 529 Day gives you the opportunity to make clever 529 education savings themes like: “Saving for a loved one’s future education”; “Recipe for Success – 529 Education Savings”; and “Ready, set, save!”
- Invite guests to join the celebration. Personally, I Invite EVERYONE to celebrate 529 Day! Here are three great ways to invite a lot of people to a party quickly: 1.) create an invitation on social media and invite friends in your network; 2.) create an electronic email invitation such as evite or Paperless post; or 3.) Send a text message or a note through a social messaging app to your favorite party guests. Ask for RSVPs, and send a quick reminder the day or two before your event confirming that your guests still plan to attend.
- Plan the menu. My go-to menu involves veggie platters, crackers and cheese, and desserts. Perhaps this occasion merits a piggy bank cake with candles to celebrate how many years you’ve been saving! Whatever you choose, I recommend easy, low-cost, and not messy. If your event is during the lunch hour, consider a brown bag lunch. If your celebration is virtual, consider sending your guests a “recipe for success” or suggestions for treats! OR, skip the food and put the cost savings into your 529 account!
- Set the event agenda. Something as simple as letting people know in advance how long the event will be goes a long way to clarify expectations! Clearly 529 Day is an all day event, but your official party can last and hour or two!
Parting thoughts: If you haven’t started saving, 529 Day is a great time to kick it off! If you’ve been saving for a while, it’s a great time review your plan, increase or start your systematic savings, and celebrate your savings accomplishments. You’ve earned some ice cream, cake, and a pat of the back if you do either or both of those tasks on 529 Day.
529 Day celebrations don’t have to be difficult, and neither does saving for your loved one’s future education. With a little planning and a lot of enthusiasm you can plan the perfect 529 Day event and get started toward your education savings goals.
*529 Day is a day to raise awareness about the value of planning and saving for higher education expenses with 529 plans. Find out more about 529 education savings plans at collegesavings.org.
About the author:
Lael Oldmixon is the Executive Director of the Education Trust of Alaska, which offers the Alaska 529, T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan, and John Hancock Freedom.