Sometimes planning ahead is easier said than done—especially when you’re talking about planning for college expenses when you have a newborn or toddler.
Most parents, especially younger parents, aren’t saving for their children’s college education as much as they could be. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by the College Savings Plans Network, only about a third of Americans have even heard of a 529 plan. And according to investment research firm Morningstar, just 16 percent of parents with children 18 and under are saving for college with a 529 plan.
While saving for college with a 529 plan is important, it doesn’t have to be daunting. That’s why the College Savings Plans Network created the Roadmap For Their Future, a handy guideline to help parents with their college savings journey by way of annual checkpoints.
Starting with infancy and progressing through high school graduation and beyond, the Roadmap For Their Future includes a substantial amount of information and activities for parents and students alike so that you can be sure you’re on track to reach your savings goals. The roadmap includes:
- Timelines for manageable savings goals
- Strategies for establishing an allowance
- Breakdowns of “needs” vs. “wants”
- Analyses of financial priorities
- A grocery store game for preschoolers
- A lesson on compound interest for fifth-graders
- A stock market exercise for teenagers
- Scholarship application advice for high schoolers
- Assistance with applying for financial aid
- Conversational prompts around paying for college
Plus lots more information on career guidance, college preparation, financial literacy, student loan debt, and other topics.
This helpful guide was created by seven 529 college savings professionals across the country, from Alaska to Massachusetts, who also happen to be parents themselves. Alabamians will recognize a familiar face in Young Boozer, former Alabama State Treasurer and current campaign chairman for the National 529 Campaign.
“Student debt can eat away at paychecks, limit opportunities, and lead young people to put off starting their lives,” said Boozer. “We’re sharing how parents can set their kids on better paths. It starts by saving a little at a time with a 529 and preparing children for the realities of the future.”