By Anna Scimemi, Director of Savings Programs, MEFA
July 10, 2017
Summer is upon us, which means taking a break from academics for students and families. But learning about saving for college and 529 plans should never stop. We all know that saving for college is a good habit, and what better time than this summer to open a 529 account or increase the monthly contributions to your current one? Saving on a regular basis for college will provide more opportunities when your child reaches college age, and it will certainly have a powerful impact on your future finances. Below is a simple summer checklist that can help you stay on target as you plan and save for the future.
- Learn the basics. If you haven’t yet started saving for college, find out the details of your state’s 529 plan and how to enroll. You can visit www.collegesavings.org for direct links to every state’s plan.
- Start saving today. 529 plans provide flexibility, tax benefits, and a simple way to prepare for college costs. And no matter the age of your child, starting to put money into a college savings account on a consistent basis now will allow your funds to grow over time.
- Set up monthly contributions. You can easily set up monthly deposits from your savings or checking account into your 529 plan. And we encourage families to try and increase that monthly deposit amount each year based on raises or other bumps in income.
- Share with your child. Let your son or daughter know that you’re saving for college, and review your account statements together when you receive them. The knowledge that you have made college a priority can help motivate your child to do well in school and dream big for the future.
- Include others in the process. Let family and friends know that one of the best gifts they can give your child is a contribution to his or her college savings account. Find out the process within your state of how someone can deposit funds into a child’s 529 account and share it with friends and family members.
Remember, it’s never too late to start saving for college, but the earlier you begin, the more prepared you’ll be for higher education costs later on. Take the time this summer to learn the facts about your state’s 529 plan and commit to save on a regular basis. You’ll be so happy you did!
About the author:
Anna Scimemi is the director of college savings for the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA).