This holiday season, most of us are thinking about giving toys or clothes to kids. I’m pretty sure a lot of you have taken advantage of some of the great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals just to be able to save on possible gifts for Christmas. But have you considered a gift that could possibly help out a kid in the future?
About 2 weeks ago, I attended a dinner with some Bay Area bloggers and Scholarshare. ScholarShare is a 529 College Savings Plan that makes it easier for parents, relatives and friends to give a simple yet very useful gift – the gift of a college education.
I went to that dinner without really knowing a lot of stuff about college planning. I just know that my husband and I will need to think about this in the future. Since my son is only 19 months old, his college education is something we haven’t really thought about yet. I do realize though that it’s best to start a college plan for him as early as possible. That way, we’ll have more time to contribute to the plan. If we contribute the minimum amount starting now, he would already have $5,400 by the time he sets foot in college. And that’s just the minimum!
In this economy, it’s getting tougher for parents to get their children through college so saving for it as early as possible is very important. But some are concerned that their kids might not go to college so their college plan might just go to waste. But It was mentioned during our dinner meeting that those who have a college plan tend to actually go to college. And even if your kid doesn’t go to college, the plan is transferrable. Anyone in your family (including you and your husband) could use the funds as long as it’s a qualified expense that is related to education. So you won’t have to worry about saving for nothing.
Here are some stats you might be interested in:
– Between 1985-2005, tuition has risen 439%! Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Report
– 53% of California parents said they’re “very concerned” about their ability to pay for their children’s higher education. But only 43% of parents have a college savings account, while 56% do not. Source: ScholarShare California Statewide Survey, 2012
– 84% of California parents say it’s “very important” that their children attend college. Source: ScholarShare California Statewide Survey, 2012
– The average college student in 2011 had a staggering average debt of $22,900. Average cumulative debt has increased by 5.6% or $1,139 a year since 2003-04. Source: Mark Kantrowicz, FinAid.org
– Many counties in California find students have to take out multiple loans, each having an average outstanding student debt per account hovering between $8,337 to $12,701. Source: Equifax, Moody Analytics
– California Parents who have been saving more than 10 years have set aside an average of $25,193. That compares to $14,733 for those saving 6-10 years and $4,663 for those saving five years or less. Source: ScholarShare California Statewide Survey, 2012
– Reduced fees, expanded investment lineup. Online and mobile tools to make California’s 529 plan more accessible and easier to manage.
– Minimum initial contribution to open an account is now only $25, down from $50 a year ago.
– Fees reduced by approximately 30 percent, making ScholarShare one of the lowest cost 529 plans in the country.
– The annual asset based management fees now range from 0.18 percent to 0.62 percent, vs. 0.25 percent to 1.06 percent with old plan.
– 4 additional investment portfolios (15 to 19), giving account holders more options, depending on their savings goals and risk tolerance.
– You can compare different college saving choices to make the wisest selections for you and your beneficiary.
– The website will feature informational tools to help meet specific needs, including a new Risk Tolerance Questionnaire
– Mobile site with full account management capabilities and mobile app called College Savings Planner, that allows customers keep track of their college savings goals and plan to help meet them.
They say you don’t really have to be a college graduate in order to succeed. That’s true. But let’s face it. In this economy, there is so much competition for jobs and one way of standing out from among the many job seekers is to have a college education. And as you encourage your kid to go to college, it’s better if you already have some savings for it so he/she doesn’t have to loan too much from others.
So if you’re shopping at the last minute for gifts, why not think about checking out the “Give a Gift” option on www.Scholarshare.com? You can easily just open an account for children of all ages FOR AS LITTLE AS $25! Or if the child already has a ScholarShare plan, you can contribute to his/her account with the “Gift of Education Certificate” where you can also include a personal gift message.
* This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.