Hon. Michael L. Fitzgerald, State Treasurer, State of Iowa
July 25, 2018
I’ve been known to repeat the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” For me, this means so much when it comes to saving for a child’s future education. Here in Iowa, we always like to tell parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends that it’s never too early to start saving for higher-education. With everyone saving for a child, we can make a brighter future possible.
Grandparents often ask me if they can save for their grandchildren with a 529 plan, even if the parents already have an account open. I always tell them, “The more 529 accounts open for a child, the better!” The more accounts open, the more people saving, the more likely a child will be able to continue their education after high school without having to borrow too much.
Recently, I had the privilege to speak on behalf of College Savings Iowa during Iowa Student Loan’s launch of their new employer contribution program. Iowa Student Loan will offer employees an extra $25 a month for their 529 accounts or student loan payments, and it’s programs like these that can get even more of the “village” involved in saving for our children’s futures.
We love to see employers get involved in helping their employees save for their families. New programs like Iowa Student Loan’s, are a great example for those employers who want to do something similar. We hope these kinds of programs will encourage more families to open 529 accounts of their own, knowing their employer is invested in the future of their family. Plus, employer contribution programs can also encourage families to put even more of their own money into a 529 account to grow their investments even more.
According to education researchers, a child is six times more likely to continue their education after graduating high school if they have a savings account in their name. A child who knows someone believes in them and has invested in them uses that as encouragement to continue their adventure. Also, there are so many people that can open a savings account for the children of our future. Whether it’s parents, grandparents, families, friends, employers or members of their community, we can all save for and raise a child.
It takes a village to raise a child, and our families and communities are on the right path to do so. Our 529 plans can make college savings goals a reality with every contribution, no matter how much.
About the Author: Iowa State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald is the Past Chair of the College Savings Plans Network and the administrator of Iowa’s 529 College Savings Programs including College Savings Iowa, with $5 billion invested.