This is a sponsored conversation brought to you by Ohio’s 529.
There have been a lot of scary moments as a mom, and we all have our moments where we just don’t know what’s going on or what to do next. I mean, we’ve had countless things happen that have left me speechless, or turning to Google for help, and right now as the mom of an 8th grader, I’m frozen at the thought of him going into high school and then on to college.
I’m terrified, honestly. Brenden is 14, in 8th grade, and that’s basically just 4 years until college. I knew it was coming, but we haven’t been money-smart when it comes to education and I’m a little afraid of what lies ahead. After looking at the “Cost of Waiting” tool provided by Ohio’s 529, I think I want to cry. This is, by far, one of the most motivational things I have done. It was “the push” we needed to sit down and get thinking about what our plans are for saving for college!
Right now, we don’t know where or for what Brenden will go to college for. We’re still discovering things about him, things he’s interested in, and we don’t know what educational option is best for him given his learning disabilities. This is something we will start discussing with his counselors as he moves through high school and starts to explore the options we have. Regardless, we can start saving now.
Now, you have to remember that not everyone goes to a 4-year school, and that grants and scholarships are available, so there’s definitely things that can cause college costs to fluctuate but it’s still a realization that we’re facing as parents.
The Cost of Waiting tool is a really great starting point to get your mind working. You can play with the numbers and see what happens when you start early vs wait until they are older.
Once you’ve looked at that, then it’s time to start learning what options you have for savings plans and how to get started.
Ohio’s 529 Plan lets you save tax-free, meaning any investment growth is yours to keep. It’s like finding change under the sofa, it’s yours to keep. Opening a 529 Plan lets not just mom and dad contribute, but grandparents can also contribute. To help you stay on track and make it even easier is that you can set up automatic deposits.
The best thing that I’ve learned about the Ohio 529 Plan is that you don’t have to use the money just for 4-year schooling. You can use the money towards certificate programs, community college, and even trade schools. You aren’t limited so no matter where your child decides to go to school or what they choose to study, you can use those funds.
Another great tool is the College Savings Planner, which lets you input your college funding goals, examine your total projected costs, and estimate the monthly amount needed to meet your savings goal. Just another thing to add to your arsenal as you prepare.
If you’re anything like me, you want to do some research. Ohio’s 529 gives you a ton of resources, so make your list of questions and start finding the answers. I wouldn’t wait any longer if you’re wanting to save any amount for college expenses!
Consider a few things as you start your college savings plan:
- Grandparents can contribute anytime, so maybe as part of birthday/Christmas gifts!
- You are not restricted to 4-year programs, but funds can be used on community college and trade schools
- Tax-free growth
- Start your plan with just $25
- Use funds anywhere, not just in Ohio!
- So many other benefits
Now, let’s figure out how to save effectively for more than one child! Gulp!