By Mary Anne Busse
Managing Director, Great Disclosure LLC
October 5, 2015

Last week my 7- year old announced that she wanted to be a designer like Joanna Gaines on Fixer Upper, the HGTV show, when she grows up.  Watching Fixer Upper is one of my favorite Saturday morning pass times.  I think I’ve got my daughter hooked on home improvement shows!  While my television-watching habits may be contributing to Emma’s future plans, I’ve tried to use her newly announced career move as a teachable moment.  It’s given me the opportunity to talk about the education needed to be a designer and how hard work and good grades can pay off a hundred fold in the end.  Although she hasn’t turned that into a master plan as of yet, I know she’s listening.

According to Sallie Mae’s How America Pays for College 2015, “[p]arents who plan are more likely to possess positive attitudes about the value of a college education. More planners strongly agreed that college is an investment in the student’s future (89%) and more of them were willing to stretch financially to get there (64%) than non-planners (82% and 53%, respectively).”  The study also found that while planning families spend more on college costs, “average borrowing by students in planning families was 40 percent less ($2,681) than the amount borrowed by students from families without a plan ($4,531).”

I want to influence my daughter in so many things, her values and morals, education and goals.  I want her to know and understand the importance of planning for her future.  So, we talk.  We talk about her future and how exciting life will be.  We talk about saving and the fact that I have a 529 plan account for her.  We often read one of her favorite books (no kidding) Everybody Freaks Out!. It’s a story of a family freaked out about paying for college for their little one and how they finally relax when they remember to open a 529 plan account. 51p2FgPFSCL__SY401_BO1,204,203,200_

I’m encouraged by the statistics supporting the need for families to plan and am happy to have gotten Emma off to a good start.  So, when she comes home next week and announces she wants to be a space explorer, I’ll be ready once again to help her understand the steps needed to get there and the excitement that awaits her when she’s ready to blast off!

About the Author
Mary Anne Busse is the Managing Director of Great Disclosure LLC, a full service consulting firm dedicated to the 529 Plan marketplace.  Great Disclosure represents 529 Plan administrators on all aspects of 529 Plan administration, marketing, and operations.