By Rachel Biar
Assistant State Treasurer for the Nebraska 529 College Savings Program
June 29, 2015
Growing up, I couldn’t wait for summer break. Warmer temperatures, more time outdoors, water fights, swimming, family vacations, and time off from school. And while the days of my youth have long past, I still look forward to summer. Letting the deep, dark soil drift through my hands as I plant my vegetable garden and flower beds, long weekend getaways, family picnics, and, yes, even the occasional water fight with my niece and nephews. Summer is an opportunity for me to re-energize myself and reconnect with extended family.
As you’re making memories with your families, summer is an ideal time to think about college savings. The children who will be going back to school in a few short weeks may be only a few short years away from college. Are you ready for their college expenses? It’s never too early, nor too late, to start planning for your child’s future, and getting started is easier than you might think. Each 529 plan has many resources available to aid you in setting up an account, or two.
In between ball games, summer camps, and backyard barbecues, I encourage you to take a moment and consider the aspirations and dreams you have for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews. You have the tools available to help them achieve their goals of furthering their education after high school. With a 529 college savings plan, you are helping ensure a better life for your loved one.
According to a report by the College Board titled “Education Pays 2013”, on average, a college graduate can expect to earn 65 percent more over 40 years than someone with only a high school diploma. A college education may earn your loved one more than a degree. It could be the single most important tool to compete in a constantly changing global market. Your child’s education will be one of the most significant investments you’ll make in your lifetime. But it may also provide you with the highest return: your child’s promising future.
Just as we plant seeds in our gardens, tend those plants, and then reap the benefits of fresh, delicious produce, I invite you to plant the seeds of education by opening a 529 college savings account or by making a special summer contribution to an existing account. Because just as you blink an eye and the days of summer are over, in another blink of an eye you will be watching your child, grandchild, niece or nephew head off to college.
As you enjoy every good thing summer has to offer, especially those family gatherings and adventures, remember to give a little of your time to plan for your child’s future. Give your children what they need to grow, and watch them soak in the benefits. I’m celebrating summer by making contributions to accounts for my niece and nephews, and I ask you to focus on your loved one’s college savings during your summer break. You will be glad you did. And let me know how it turns out. Now, where did I put those water balloons?
About the Author
Rachel Biar is the Assistant State Treasurer for the Nebraska 529 College Savings Program. The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and The State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as the Program Trustee. First National Bank serves as the Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using the NEST 529 plans, which have $3.9 billion in assets and more than 231,000 accounts, including nearly 68,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information. Rachel serves as a member of the College Savings Plan Network Member Engagement Committee. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, reading and gardening.