By Mary Anne Busse, Managing Director of Great Disclosure LLC
August 2, 2017

I’ve sent my 9-year-old daughter, Emma, away to summer camp for the first time ever! While she was nervcited (her word for nervous and excited at the same time), I find myself unexpectedly suffering from the Summer Camp Blues! Lots of parents dream about the week every summer when they are kid-free and can order take-out every night or go on a date night or just binge watch the latest show on TV. I thought I would be one of those parents. Instead, I found myself surprised at how much I really missed Emma and how concerned I was that she would be having a great time away from home. I’ve been away from Emma many times before, but always for business. This is the first time she’s been away from me! Pictures that the camp posts online have alleviated my fears that she would be lost without me and have confirmed that she’s having an awesome time! But, those same photos have over- emphasized how much I miss her and how fast she’s growing up! 72551387-MI_Summer_2017_WK6_ARS-10 edit

So, to help alleviate my Summer Camp Blues, I’ve decided to take on major household projects – those things that need to be done but you just don’t seem to have the time. I’ve also done a mini-makeover of my daughter’s bedroom to surprise her when she returns. And … I’ve put my New Year’s resolution into hyperdrive and refocused my energy on the Summer of the Purge! The resolution was that bit by bit, I’d clean out the junk from every room in the house! As New Year resolutions go, the Summer of the Purge has been quite successful – and liberating!

This week in the Summer of the Purge, following my 10th garbage bag sent to the Salvation Army (making the summer total of at least 40 bags donated), I’ve come to realize just how much “junk” we accumulate on a regular basis and, consequently, how much money we waste on that “junk”.

Did you know that, according to an LA Times article, the average U.S. household has 300,000 things in it and, while U.S. kids are less than 4% of the world population, they have almost half of all toys and children’s books! (1) Or, that, according to a survey conducted by Gladiator GarageWorks, as reported by, one in four people can’t fit their car in their garage and a third keep their garage door shut so others won’t see all their junk! How about the fact that, according to a Psychology Today article, Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry and watches than on higher education! (2) The numbers are startling!

So, I’ve made a “No Junk Resolution”! No more money spent on wasted items. I’m resolved to spend better! And, the first thing I’ve done is increase my monthly contribution to my daughter’s 529 plan account. It took (no kidding) one minute to log in and make the change! Using some simple assumptions, a $25 increase in the amount you save for college each month could add $10,000 to your newborn’s 529 plan. (3)

So, while I continue to work on the Summer of the Purge and wait for my 9-year-old to come home from camp, why not learn more about 529 plans at and, if you already have a 529 plan account, consider how you can make your own No Junk Resolution by saving a bit more for your loved one’s education each month. Now that would be some smart spending!

(1) Los Angeles Times, For many people, gathering possessions is just the stuff of life, March 21, 2014
(2) Psychology Today, Do Americans Consume Too Much? Peter G. Stromberg, Ph.D., July 29, 2012.
(3) Assumes $25 saved monthly with an expected average rate of return of 6% over 18 years.

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